Cosatu has changed tune on Tito Mboweni, saying it has no personal issues with him, but only with the national treasury he heads. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Durban - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has changed tune on Tito Mboweni, saying it has no personal issues with him, but only with the national treasury he heads.  

Their change of stance follows a recent outburst by the federations’ first deputy president, Michael Shingange, that Mboweni should lead by example and retire first before forcing civil servants out through early retirement packages. Shingange also said they would like to see the back of Mboweni after next week’s general elections.

Cornered about this in Durban on Monday, Cosatu’s president Zingiswa Losi said the issue was not Mboweni but the whole Treasury department. The federation was briefing the media about their plans for their main Mayday rally which will be held in Durban. 

The question was triggered by Cosatu’s assertion that the state wage bill which currently stands at 35%, was not as big as that cap is an international norm and that Cosatu is opposed to any privatisation of state owned companies. Mboweni has been vocal on both issues, thus earning the wrath of the federation which now wants him out. 

“We have our issues with the Treasury and we have never hidden the fact that we have issues with the treasury irrespective of who is there. So if we are going to personalise this and say Tito, Tito can be redirected elsewhere, perhaps be the minister of tourism. The issues are about the department itself. That's why Cosatu continues to have a problem with the economic chapter in the NDP (National Development Plan),” she said without being specific about their real issues. 

Losi also said the state bill is not suffocated by civil servants but by members of parliament who are over the retirement age.

“Who pays for their salaries? This huge wage bill, who carries it?” Losi asked. 

At the same press conference, Cosatu said it will continue to oppose the rumored privatization of Eskom and retrenchment of civil servants, saying that there was no resolution taken by the ruling party at its Nasrec elective conference to privatize state owned companies. 

“We have raised our objection to having any state enterprise being privatized. Be it Eskom, be it SAA (South African Airways)... We will oppose it (privatization),” she said. 

Political Bureau