President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Phill Magakoe.

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma is expected to report on the minimum wage during his State of the Nation address, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said on Friday.

“Too many workers and their families are living in poverty. It is totally unacceptable that half of all employed workers earn R3000 a month or less, meaning that the majority of South African workers can't afford the basic necessities of life,” said Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven.

Zuma was expected to deliver the State of the Nation address on Tuesday next week.

“Combating low wages is at the heart of addressing poverty and inequality,” said Craven, detailing the federation's expectation from Zuma.

He said Cosatu expected Zuma to reassure the nation that he would stop any move to amend the labour laws to allow government to ban protected strikes.

“Cosatu hopes that the president will announce the scrapping of the privatisation of our public highways in the form of the disastrous e-tolling scheme.

“Thousands of motorists are refusing to buy e-tags or pay their bills and the system is on the brink of collapse. The iniquitous, capitalist 'user-pays' principle must be rejected.”

He said Cosatu also hoped Zuma would announce an independent commission of inquiry into the mining industry.

“A special declaration on the Marikana crisis was adopted by Cosatu Congress calling for an independent commission of inquiry into the mining industry, to look at measures to transform the sector.

“Cosatu hopes President Zuma will announce when this will be set up, and that it will lead to the transformation of this economically crucial sector, and lead to a more equitable distribution of the surplus to mine workers, local communities and throughout the economy.”

He said Cosatu hoped Zuma would confirm that government was following up on the reports on the Nkandla scandal by the ministerial task team, the Public Protector and the Special Investigating Unit, and that government would take firm action against those, in both the public and private sectors, found to have been responsible for the gross over-spending on upgrades to the president's residence.