Zuma should focus on jobs, says Cosatu

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iol news pic Zuma Davos WEF REUTERS President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Reuters

Johannesburg - Cosatu expects job creation to be one of the top priorities addressed in President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation speech.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) expected Zuma to base his speech on jobs, education, health, crime and corruption and rural development, spokesman Patrick Craven said on Wednesday.

These are the five policy priorities defined by the African National Congress in its 2009 election manifesto.

Zuma will present his state-of-the-nation speech on Thursday evening.

“On decent work, we hope to hear that progress is being made on the decent work agenda, particularly in the light of last week's grim figures from Statistics SA on employment,” said Craven.

The Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics SA last week revealed that the country's labour force had decreased by 235,000 people between the third and fourth quarters of 2012.

“This confirms the structural nature of our triple crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality, which requires bold developmental policies to restructure the economy we inherited from colonialism and apartheid,” he said.

Cosatu also expected Zuma to shed some light on the improvement of the quality of work.

“Far too many jobs have been casualised, and we have still not ended the scourge of labour broking. It must be completely banned.”

The labour department should also get more inspectors so sectoral determinations of minimum wages could be effectively monitored, Craven said.

Cosatu also expected Zuma to report on plans to transform the crisis-ridden “two-tier” education system.

“Our big challenge... is how to keep the 55 percent of learners who drop out in school until Grade 12 and equip them with the skills and qualifications which they, and society, need.”

The National Insurance Health scheme would also probably be detailed in the state-of-the-nation speech.

Craven said Cosatu expected Zuma to state the government's stance on corruption and crime.

The government's measures to deal with violence against women and children should also be a focus of the government, especially following the recent rape, mutilation and murder of Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp, in the Western Cape.

Booysen, 17, was found injured at a construction site on the morning of February 2 and died in hospital that night. - Sapa

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