Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

Unions will resist SOE job cuts

By SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI Time of article published Jan 22, 2020

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Johannesburg - The government’s plan to restructure state-owned entities (SOEs) could be met with resistance by trade unions.

Cosatu on Tuesday warned the ­government it would oppose any privatisation and job losses at SoEs.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa this week said they would consolidate and rationalise all 740 SOEs in the country.

The government has in the past few years spent over R570 billion in bailouts for SOEs.

The reconfiguration of SOEs also comes after the ANC National Executive Committee lekgotla met at the weekend and took a number of decisions, including on state entities.

Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said they would reject attempts to fire workers during the restructuring of the SOEs.

Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said Ramaphosa had shared detailed plans of what he intended to do with the state entities.

The entities have been haemorrhaging cash in the past few years and consistently required bailouts to continue functioning.

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni has also spoken out against some of the entities.

But Pamla maintained that any plans by the State to restructure SOEs should not involve job cuts, and said that the union was prepared to engage the government on this matter.

“We will have a conversation. But all we are saying, no privatisation, no job losses,” Pamla said.

Vavi, meanwhile, said the federation would need to obtain further clarity on Ramaphosa’s remarks.

“At the moment it is not clear what he meant by consolidating and rationalising SOEs.The problem is that we don’t know what he is talking about because we have not seen the details,” said Vavi.

Many SOEs have been battling for years, which has led to the intervention of the state with bailouts.

But Mboweni recently said he did not want SOEs to rely on bailouts. He has since proposed that for any entity to get government support, a chief restructuring officer should be assigned to that organisation so as to monitor its use of money.

Former accountant-general Freeman Nomvalo was appointed as the chief restructuring officer at Eskom after the government committed to inject R230bn into the power utility over the next few years.

This would enable the power utility to remain in business.

However, the entity has continued to struggle and is currently sitting on a multibillion-rand debt.

Political Bureau

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