South Africa - Cape Town - 30 March 2019 - Julius Malema Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) Leader speaks at the parties Western Cape Manifesto Rally held at the Philippi Stadium. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency(ANA)
THE country’s biggest trade unions and some political parties are gearing up to fight the planned unbundling of power utility Eskom, banks, the freezing of public service wages and ensuring schools are safer this year.

One of trade union federation Cosatu’s biggest affiliates, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), is planning to march to Parliament during Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Budget speech next month as it suspects he will announce the government’s decision to freeze public servants’ salaries to achieve savings in the state’s wage bill.

Nehawu was angered by Mboweni’s deputy David Masondo, who announced that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration was seriously considering not increasing public servants’ wages.

The union has threatened to mobilise all its 274 000 members and other workers to shut down government indefinitely and render the system ungovernable should the planned march not yield any positive results.

Another Cosatu affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), at its two-day national executive committee (NEC) meeting this month reaffirmed its resolution to continue with a planned march to the ANC’s head office, Luthuli House, to express its displeasure at the proposed unbundling of Eskom without consulting its employees.

In December, the ANC denied it would privatise any state-owned entities, instead saying it would insist that the government own majority stakes in them.

Teachers’ union Sadtu plans to increase its membership by 20000 from 264000 as it celebrates its 30th anniversary on October 6 this year.

Sadtu has also set its sights on tackling violence in basic education facilities through its “I am a School Fan” campaign to ensure that communities play an active role in ensuring safety.

It also wants all reading programmes and related intervention activities to be integrated and compliant with Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements.

Meanwhile, the country’s third largest political party, the EFF, has also announced that it is taking on the banks and the broader financial services industry in 2020 while also fighting King Mswati’s regime in eSwatini.

EFF leader Julius Malema has mandated the party’s Mpumalanga structures to occupy the border between South Africa and eSwatini in the new year while the DA will have a busy year as it holds its policy conference in April and its federal congress in May.

After the resignation of party leader Mmusi Maimane in October last year, the official opposition’s chief whip John Steenhuisen replaced him as both parliamentary and interim leader.

This followed the return of Maimane’s predecessor Helen Zille in what many saw as the restoration of the party’s old guard.

Politics Bureau