28 October 2020
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) has called on Finance Minister Tito Mboweni to immediately commit the resources required to finance the vital Economic Recovery Plans announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa about two weeks ago when he tables his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in Parliament.
Key among these will be to use a portion of the IMF loan originally earmarked for the procurement of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to settle outstanding public sector wage increments that the government signed in 2018 but is reneging on, pleading poverty. However, National Treasury needs to do this with utmost care and sensitivity given the conditionalities that international financial institutions attach to loans of this nature.
Given that the R100 billion stimulus package to create more than 800 000 new job opportunities over three years, starting this year announced by President Ramaphosa flows directly out of a protracted campaign by Organized Labour through the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) since at least the Presidential Jobs Summit of 2019; FEDUSA expects the Finance Minister to announce details how this plan will be rolled on the ground, including how these job opportunities will be turned into decent, permanent jobs.
Integral to the immediate rolling out of the Stimulus Package should be an announcement of the clear roles that NEDLAC Social Partners are required to play and government to act against all State Procurement Officers who to fail comply with buy local regulations as the localization drive is going to play a vital role in stimulating the economy and creating jobs on a large enough; scale and the Minister’s recommitment to fight corruption in all shapes and sizes.
Specifically, such rules should require State Procurement Officers to ensure that all PPEs are procured from accredited local manufacturers; and that all public infrastructure projects use locally-made materials, including steel products, cement, bricks and other components; and to disclose the value of procurement from local producers in their Departmental Annual Reports and to the relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees.
Reports of a pending Second Wave of COVID-19 infections and a possible return to Lockdown Level 2 can only be of grave concern as we cannot afford another economically devastating lockdown and FEDUSA expects the Minister of Finance to re-emphasise the need to strictly comply with the pandemic safety protocols.
FEDUSA is also equally concerned about projections of a tax collection shortfall of more than R300 billion in the current financial year and would like to urge National Treasury to explore creative ways of enhancing streams of revenue income without further burdening the ever dwindling worker force that have previously been the easy target to prop tax shortfalls.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096