Former Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini has lamented the poor state of the economy which is confronted by rising inflation, telling a small crowd of marchers in Durban that he warned the working class about the economic hardships and labour challenges that they were now confronted by.
Dlamini, who is now a central committee member of the SACP, said he sounded warnings when he left Cosatu in 2018.
Dlamini was speaking in Durban where he addressed the poorly-attended Cosatu protest march on Thursday, which was marching against the state of the economy, poor governance and the falling living standards of workers.
The Cosatu nationwide march had a list of demands to various institutions such as calls to lower interest rates, marching against the high cost of living, crime and corruption, as well as an end to privatisation.
UPDATE: The memorandum has been handed over to authorities, marking the end of the Durban leg of the #COSATU protest march on Thursday. More importantly, the labour federation demanded the immediate end of the privatization of Transnet. @IOL pic.twitter.com/ulpTAPoswI— Sihle Mavuso (@ZANewsFlash) July 6, 2023
Dlamini was removed as the deputy minister in March when President Cyril Ramaphosa reshuffled his Cabinet, but he kept his parliamentary seat.
In the last days of his Cosatu presidency, he was seen to be close to former president Jacob Zuma even when the latter was under fire from workers who accused him of reversing their gains.
Dlamini said it could not be denied that the cost of living had skyrocketed and load shedding had made things worse.
“If we allow the situation to be like this in South Africa we are in danger, I wish to say that. You will recall that when I opened my last Cosatu congress before I departed, I warned you about all what is happening right now, I said it is going to happen.
“Go back and refresh your memories and fix all those issues I raised,” Dlamini told the workers in Durban.
He said the SACP was committed to fighting crime, corruption and unemployment.
Dlamini led the Durban leg of the march along with other Cosatu leaders like Gerald Thwala, the deputy general-secretary of the federation, Phumlani Duma, the chairperson of the federation in KZN, Edwin Mkhize, the KZN provincial secretary and Thami Mzileni, a Durban Cosatu activist.
Upon reaching the Durban City Hall, speeches were delivered and Thwala lashed out at those who were sabotaging Eskom power stations.
He said, as a result, they supported the deployment of security forces to guard power stations since it had become clear that load shedding was a manufactured crisis.
Mkhize criticised Transnet and eThekwini municipality for its perennial billing crisis and the South African Reserve Bank.
To Transnet, Mkhize said they wanted the state-owned logistics company to end the process to bring private role-players as that would end jobs.
“These private companies are retrenching workers. These companies are downgrading the standard for workers; these companies have introduced unconducive working shift patterns that will lead to workers’ fatigue,” he said.
Lashing out at the Reserve Bank, he said its stance that it was only there to target inflation, was like a teacher who only ensured that learners were in class, but was not worried about what happened next.
Video: Sihle Mavuso
“Therefore we are saying comrades, as Cosatu it is unfair to have a bank like the Reserve Bank only focus on CPI (consumer price index).
“We are saying as Cosatu, the mandate and model of the Reserve Bank has to be reviewed,” he added.
All the stakeholders that received the memorandum were given 14 days to respond to the demands made.