There are no guarantees that public servants’ pensions won’t be used to bail out bankrupt state airline SAA, Congress for South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) provincial secretary Xolani Malamlela told hundreds of angry members and affiliates this weekend.
Mlamlela was speaking during the trade union’s provincial shop steward council ahead of a planned nationwide strike against state capture and corruption.
At the council, which was held at the Buffalo City Public FET College, 10 labour unions affiliated to Cosatu announced their readiness to join the strike on September 27.
Malamlela said the union recently met with Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, who told them there was a possibility that treasury might “borrow” the R10-billion needed by SAA from the public purse.
Last month, Gigaba told parliament that SAA needed R10-billion to pay its loans and stay afloat.
The source of the bailout is expected to be announced by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa in parliament on Wednesday.
The trade union said the cause of the financial woes at SAA and other state parastatals was state capture, which had destroyed public trust in the state and its organs.
“The majority of South Africans bear the brunt of corruption and state capture,” Malamlela said.
“If state capture is allowed to continue, it will not be possible to achieve the transformative objectives of the state that serve to improve the socio-economic predicament of the poor and working class.”
Malamlela said the source of state capture was President Jacob Zuma.
“This was started by the president and we will continue to show that we are not scared of him and he needs to go.”
Cosatu’s central executive committee on Saturday reiterated their resolutions to support a judicial commission of inquiry on state capture, call for the recall of the president, support Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the next president of the ANC and continue the ban on President Zuma from addressing all of Cosatu and its affiliates’ gatherings.
Malamlela said: “This is done to assist our movement and try to rescue it from total collapse as we prepare for the 2019 national general elections because it has dawned on all of us that the ANC national executive committee [NEC] has dismally failed to recall the ANC president.”
Malamlela said the national strike was not only about corruption at national level but also in provincial and local government sectors.
“The corruption is also rife in the municipalities where you find that tenders are given to the same few businesses over and over.”
The union resolved to shut down all major centres in the Eastern Cape including East London, Mthatha, Komani and Port Elizabeth.
The ANC in the Eastern Cape is supporting the Cosatu strike. Speaking at the event on Saturday, ANC secretary Oscar Mabuyane said the ANC had decided to join the strike to say no to corruption.
“The ANC is nothing without Cosatu and its alliance partners.”
Mabuyane said the strike was not about the president but against corruption. — firstname.lastname@example.org