‘Cosatu split could boost market growth’

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Cosatu4

Reuters

Striking members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU).

Cape Town - The looming break-up of Cosatu means the government could pursue greater labour market flexibility, and potentially put South Africa on a faster economic growth trajectory.

This is the view of Institute for Security Studies executive director Jakkie Cilliers, who yesterday presented three different scenarios for South Africa’s future up until 2030.

He argued that the National Development Plan, the blueprint to reduce inequality and poverty by 2030, was the best route, but it needed to be implemented by a strong deputy president, he said, naming Cyril Rama- phosa.

But it was criticised in part by Cosatu, whose largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) rejected the policy as a “right- wing” document adopting DA policies.

Yesterday, Cilliers said: “The government has been playing a very delicate balancing act on the NDP, but with Cosatu’s break-up, the stranglehold labour has had on (opposing) greater labour market flexibility has been reduced. The ANC going forward has probably got more room to manoeuvre, if it chooses to go down this path and is not too concerned about the rise of populism.”

Labour market flexibility is jargon for making it easier to hire and fire workers and to determine wages and working conditions. It is widely opposed by trade unions, which are adamant in their demand for “decent work” and a national legislated minimum wage.

Cilliers’ outlines three projections in “South African Futures 2030: How Bafana Bafana made Madiba Magic”:

l Bafana Bafana – the current trajectory of “perennial underperformers” where the country plods on, paying lip service to the NDP, but not really breaking the back of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

l A Nation Divided – the worst- case scenario, where the ANC, faced with decreasing support, resorts to populist measures that ultimately drain the national coffers, leading to South Africa receiving junk status rating by international agencies by 2017.

l Madiba Magic – the best route which, with the full and committed implementation of the NDP, would see strong economic growth of 5.4 percent and job creation underscored by a strengthened manufacturing sector. - Cape Argus


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