FEDUSA Welcomes Socio Economic Measures but Cautions on Effective Implementation

08 February 2019

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has welcomed the progressive tone of President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address, particularly targeting measures to meaningfully improve the quality of education and healthcare, whilst outlining initiatives that will attempt to advance job creation and address stubbornly high levels of unemployment. Decisive action to strengthen and root out corruption at state owned enterprises (SOE’s) with the intent of improving governance, strengthen leadership and restore stability in strategic entities will be closely monitored, said FEDUSA President, Godfrey Selematsela.

FEDUSA has consistently called for the appointment of qualified, appropriately experienced and ethical Board Directors and remains cautiously optimistic about the appointments at Eskom, Denel, Transnet, SAFCOL, PRASA and SA Express, where a large number of the federation’s membership resides. Similarly, the announcement to address challenges facing state power utility Eskom, through meaningful consultations remains a key priority to FEDUSA, as the details of a just transition from coal generated electricity to renewable energy must be addressed to ensure that the realities and commitments by South Africa towards climate change remains uppermost. Although bold decisions are alluded to, the ability to act and implement these measures will stand the test of time.

Whilst FEDUSA welcomes the progressive move of introducing the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill into Parliament and remains supportive of the NHI in principle, it remains absolutely essential to ensure that public health institutions first reach a level of functionality before such a system can ever be successful. The key constraint to service delivery remains the thousands of unfilled posts that remain vacant and places undue strain on existing personnel, whilst doing an absolute injustice to service delivery to the millions of poor, frail and elderly who are reliant on public health facilities to address the provision of primary healthcare.

As a staunch supporter of measures to support youth employment, FEDUSA looks forward to effective collaboration and full uptake of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI) to ensure both decent and skilled employment opportunities to tackle the stubbornly high unemployment figures, currently sitting at 27,5%. FEDUSA believes that greater exposure by Government and uptake by Business is now required to ensure meaningful redress as the life span of the ETI has been extended by another 10 years through after extensive deliberations at NEDLAC. However, FEDUSA cautions on the effectiveness in the uptake and commitment to the Youth Employment Scheme (YES) programme, the main vehicle to create jobs for the unemployed youth, as it has fell far short of its projected target of creating around 30,000 jobs a year. Currently only between 2,000 and 11,000 jobs were created, argued Selematsela.

Prioritization of Early Childhood Development (ECD), digitization and training for both teachers and pupils in skills for a changing world is welcomed by FEDUSA to meet the demands of the jobs for the future. However accessibility to rural schools, drastic improvements to infrastructure, let alone that 4000 schools are still without toilets and resources remain critical stumbling blocks that need to be overcome, to ensure that South Africa can be propelled into a globally competitive world. South Africa’s ability to implement these measures ultimately remains the key game changer, concluded Selematsela.

(569 Words)

For interviews please contact:
Masale Godfrey Selematsela
FEDUSA President
065 652 2832/083 653 3021

Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA Acting General Secretary
079 696 2626

Issued by:
Frank Nxumalo
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096