Cosatu wants seat on Transnet board
PARLIAMENT - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) should be given representation on the boards of Transnet and other state-owned enterprises to help halt their decline, the federation's parliamentary representative argued on Wednesday.
"Workers should be represented on the boards, it should be Eskom, Transnet and so on," Matthew Parks told Parliament's portfolio committee on public enterprises.
After proposing debt relief for Eskom through pension fund savings, and concluding that South African Airways was possibly beyond saving, COSATU has turned its attention to Transnet and Parks tabled a list of interventions it was proposing to strengthen the freight rail entity.
These included, as with Eskom, a call to rightsize bloated management structures and contain compensation for senior managers. Parks suggested that the R160 billion reduction to the public sector wage bill proposed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in the national budget last month, be spread across state-owned enterprises to lessen the blow to workers.
COSATU has called the minister's plan a declaration of war on workers and said it was battle-ready to resist it. Parks questioned why Mboweni did not target the upper echelons, of parastatals though ministers regularly mentioned that their numbers created a drain on the companies' finances.
"Government has got to have the political courage to slash the management levels. The same managers who broke state-owned enterprises are getting bonuses," he said.
"We are not sure why the stakeholder is scared to exercise its power. There should be a cap on what managers can earn."
COSATU also blasted government for not acting strongly against those who helped to loot state-owned enterprises in the state capture scandal, and said the previous was complicit.
"The fifth parliament failed to hold government to account while industrial scale looting was happening."
COSATU's proposal on Transnet include creating a dedicated police units to safeguard the rail system and to investigate cable theft, an infrastructure renewal programme that will include building high speed rail networks between Gauteng, Cape Town, Durban and Limpopo and plans to prioritise investments in freight and commuter rail and ports.
"Investments should begin to rebuild local train building capacity, and in particular electric trains."
Transnet lost R12 billion in the last financial year.
- African News Agency (ANA)