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Cosatu marches in city

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Cosatu in the Northern Cape slams government departments for wasting public funds, while claiming there is no money to pay workers.

Cosatu members march in Kimberley. Picture: Danie van der Lith

COSATU in the Northern Cape has criticised government departments for wasting public funds, while claiming that there is no money to pay their workers.

Public servants marched from the Kimberley City Hall to the Premier’s Office yesterday to hand over a memorandum in commemoration of Global Day of Decent Work.

SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) provincial chairperson Senzo Mpalala denied that the march was poorly attended.

“It only took 12 disciples to spread the gospel,” Mpalala said.

Cosatu provincial treasurer Platina Moletsane pointed out that senior government officials were deployed if they stole public funds while workers were immediately dismissed.

“These officials are intimidating workers and are placed on special leave if they are involved in wrongdoing. The ANC is friendly to us now because they want our votes. They must stop imposing nonsense on us and expect us to smile. We are not happy. Even if we must die, we will speak out. They must start to take us seriously,” said Moletsane.

She complained that workers were made to stand and wait in the hot sun as no prior arrangements were made for a representative from provincial government to accept the memorandum.

Cosatu provincial chairperson Zamani Mathiso called on provincial government to pay temporary teachers and nurses.

“How do you expect front-line workers to eat and travel to work? Teachers and nurses cannot work in overcrowded classrooms and hospitals. The Department of Labour must inspect farms that exploit vulnerable farmworkers.”

Cosatu provincial secretary Orapeleng Moraladi stated that the unemployment rate was standing at 44 percent and was expected to rise further.

“Unemployment for youth, women, people in rural areas or with disabilities is far higher. Millions of workers have lost wages, pensions and benefits during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

“Workers in the public sector have also felt great hardship, with no wage increase in 2020 and government seeks to impose a further wage freeze in 2022 and 2023.

“Employers in the private sector have sought to copy this and abandon signed wage agreements.”

Moraladi added that workers were left to bear the brunt of corruption through retrenchments, austerity budget cuts, lost wages and the deterioration and collapse of key public services.

“Key public institutions such as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) have been weakened by forced retrenchments of commissioners and as a result seen a massive increase in waiting times for workers’ cases to be heard.”

He also pointed out that workers at various dysfunctional municipalities were not being paid.

“Their employers fail to pay their pension fund contributions. Some municipal workers have been assassinated for exposing corruption and others dismissed.”

Moraladi called for compulsory lifestyle audits to be conducted for all members of Cabinet, provincial executive councils and mayoral committees, as well as the senior management and supply chain officials of departments, entities, state-owned enterprises, the CCMA and municipalities.

“The ban on politically-exposed persons from doing business with the state must be extended to include national, provincial and regional leaders of political parties elected to lead government as well as their spouses and children.

“Additional resources must be allocated to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the police to ensure that they have sufficient capacity to tackle corruption.

“The NPA and government must utilise their powers to hold offending politicians and officials personally liable for corruption.”

He called for austerity budget cuts to be reversed and to instead stimulate economic growth by creating jobs and preventing corruption and wasteful expenditure.

“The reduction in South African Police Service members of 7 000 must be reversed and the commitment by the president to actually increase it by 7 000 in 2021 honoured.

“All front-line service vacancies, in particular in health and education, must be filled. This must include making permanent community health worker posts.”

Moraladi added that government should intervene to address high electricity prices at Sol Plaatje Municipality.

“The provincial government in the Northern Cape must act with speed to address the current challenges, including the dismissed workers at Sol Plaatje Municipality, delays in the payment of salaries at Renosterberg Municipality and expedite disciplinary process on the suspension of two managers at Dikgatlong Municipality who have been suspended with full pay for the past three years.”

The MEC for Sport, Arts and Culture, Desiree Fienies, accepted the memorandum on behalf of provincial government and apologised for the absence of Premier Zamani Saul.

“He is out of town,” said Fienies.

She promised to provide a response within the next 14 days.

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