ANC opposes plans to retrench staff at state-owned entities: Magashule

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said on Wednesday that SOEs need to "be sensitive" to the conditions that poor South Africans currently find themselves in.
ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule said on Wednesday that SOEs need to "be sensitive" to the conditions that poor South Africans currently find themselves in.
Image: Simphiwe Nkwali

The ANC is opposing plans by state-owned entities (SOEs) to retrench employees in view of the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Secretary-general Ace Magashule said on Wednesday afternoon that SOEs needed to be sensitive to the current conditions that South Africans found themselves in.

“In terms of the state entities and the cut-offs, we are just saying that it is a position we have adopted. We are against retrenchments and we are actually saying people must be retrained and reskilled, as opposed to them losing jobs. That is our bottom line,” he said during a post-NEC briefing.

“I think we are encouraging our state entities, including the SABC ... Imagine SABC retrenching 600 people during this Covid. What will happen to the lives of those people, what will happen to their homes, cars and children? Those are people who are breadwinners.

“We are saying the same to Eskom. Most of our municipalities have no tax base, they are non-viable. We are dealing with the matter. Some of the municipalities were able to collect revenue. Citizens are not paying today because of corona. Sars can also not collect what is was collecting in the past.

“Therefore we are faced with conditions that are serious — so you can’t, because people are not able to pay what they used to, say that Eskom must cut.

“That is why we see protests all over because there are these cuts. We are saying to Eskom and the SABC to please be sensitive to our people, especially the poor.

The ANC, as an organisation with a bias to the working class, cannot close its eyes when the poor are going through these difficulties. Blacks in general are suffering under Covid and the Covid conditions.”

Magashule also referred to the alliance framework discussion document on the post-Covid economic environment, saying it bought to the fore a long-standing discussion within the alliance about whether the country should establish a basic income grant.

While the government has struggled to distribute the R350 Covid-19 grant — for those currently unemployed and not receiving any other grant — Magashule said the concept stemmed from the idea of a basic income grant.

“There is a paper on a implementing basic income grant, which has been a debate for many years by the ANC and its alliance partners. We are arguing that it is time to implement it.”

The current Covid-19 grant is set to come to an end in October.


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