Day of truth for Cosatu and Cape farmworkers

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Today will determine whether Cosatu in the Western Cape can carry along the farmworkers in the province who are set to resume their wage strike which was suspended almost a month ago.

As we all know, they want their minimum wage of R70 a day raised to R150 a day. Whether this is feasible for all the farmers in the region remains debatable.

It is understood that some of the farmers have raised comparisons with the government-run and supported Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), where the minimum wage is R65 a day.

So, if the sauce is good for the goose, why is it not good for the gander?

Well, it is not exactly so. Workers on the farms are workers, although vulnerable. This is why a sectoral determination for them is needed, and for the domestic workers, otherwise they would be left at the mercy of their employers.

Compare these workers to the people employed in the EPWP. The programme addresses the skills development challenge in the country and aims to equip the unemployed youth with skills while they earn an income, albeit little.

The target is to create 4.5 million work opportunities between 2009 and 2014, with 2 million of these created since 2009.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant, faced with the farmworker strike, panicked and decided it was better to fast-track the farming sectoral determination.

She raised hopes, only to dash them when she later said the next determination was not due for a year from last March.

This has angered Cosatu in the Western Cape, which was trying to organise and represent the otherwise disorganised labour sector.

Tony Ehrenreich, the Cosatu leader, now says farmers, who were previously committed to finding an agreement through good faith negotiations, changed their attitude after Oliphant’s statement.

Telkom

Telkom has opened the sluices for applications to pour in for the position of chief executive of the fixed-line service provider.

The number of entries it will receive should possibly be as interesting as the individuals who will put their reputation on the block to steer the beleaguered firm.

According to an advertisement on Sunday, hopeful candidates have until next Tuesday to apply. Outgoing chief executive Nombulelo Moholi’s resignation was announced on November 5 and she is serving her last six months.

Moholi and former chairman Lazarus Zim are thought to have served the shortest tenures in their respective positions in the company, where it is not only market pressure that makes the job tough, but also the main shareholder, the government.

The recruitment is managed by Spencer Stuart, a global executive search firm. So what qualities should hopefuls possess?

Previous experience as chief executive of a listed or unlisted company of a similar scale and size, with a track record of delivering high growth and at least a decade of hands-on senior management, five of which should have been at executive director level is key.

A proven record of solid, credible win-win relationships among a wide array of stakeholders, a track record of decisive leadership and successfully taking organisations through challenging cycles and business growth. A bachelor’s degree and or an MBA or equivalent.

The individual must be results-orientated, be able to set and meet strategic and financial goals and develop constructive and enabling relationships with stakeholders, while leading the executive team and organisation to “execute growth strategies and maximise shareholder value”.

High integrity, regard for best practice corporate governance standards and ethics, a respected visionary and inspiring leader who instills confidence and a winning mindset, a good negotiator.

Please form an orderly queue.

Corruption

Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota asked whether the government was taking steps to correct the characterisation of South Africa by Human Rights Watch in its World Report 2012 as a country grappling with corruption, growing social and economic inequalities and weakening of state institutions by partisan appointments and one-party dominance.

President Jacob Zuma replied: “We do not agree with the conclusions of the Human Rights Watch. The South African government has many programmes and structures to fight corruption, address social and economic inequalities and strengthen the capacity of the state.”

Referring to National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel’s National Development Plan (NDP), Zuma said it further provided government “with strategies to intensify efforts around each of these challenges”.

“The NDP included building a resilient anti-corruption system where designated agencies investigate and prosecute corruption; strengthen accountability and responsibility of public servants; strengthen protection of whistle-blowers to expand the scope of protection to include those outside the traditional employer-employee relationship and review and reform procurement procedures.”

Just in case anyone had any doubts about government’s sincerity, Zuma said: “The core objective of the plan is the reduction of inequality and elimination of poverty and it proposes that the best way to address inequality is through the prioritisation of quality education.” Studies showed that the greatest contributor to the inequality is wage income caused by unemployment and the huge income differentials, he said. Thus, the plan emphasised job creation and making the economy “more labour absorptive”.

One assumes that Zuma doesn’t include “clever blacks” – which he, at a meeting of traditional leaders, referred to as something to avoid becoming – in the prioritisation of quality education.

Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Wiseman Khuzwayo, Asha Speckman and Donwald Pressly.


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