9 February 2021
The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) expects President Cyril Ramaphosa to announce concrete steps for the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (ERRP) when he opens Parliament during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2021 on Thursday evening, 11 February 2021.
FEDUSA expects the President to announce concrete recovery measures for those sectors that have been devastated by the pandemic such as tourism, arts, entertainment, culture, and hospitality reopen safely and gradually ramp up their stalled operations. The pandemic saw these distressed companies furloughing workers, putting them on greatly reduced wages or retrenching them altogether and many independent contractors losing their livelihood altogether..
Retrenchments have pushed unemployment figures beyond 50 percent according to available statistics which in itself needs government to pay special focus on readily implementable measures such ramping up local procurements by large hotel chains in the both the tourism and hospitality and mining sectors, in order to generate resources needed to save current jobs and then create jobs on a massive scale.
The take up of the R200 billion Loan Guarantee Scheme (LGS) by distressed SMME’s has been very disappointing and the President is expected to announce measures that will address the blockages.
“The continued carnage on SMME’s and SOE’e must be addressed. By implication of their already exposed credit standing, they have been financially prejudiced and unable to access the relief brought about by the LGS; economic injustices must be corrected to ensure that guaranteed lifelines are extended to small and medium sized businesses, failing which, workers will continue to face the double edged swords,” said FEDUSA Riefdah Ajam.
“Whilst the economy must be resuscitated, FEDUSA will continue to voice is absolute anger with the spate of load shedding that has occurred, and the recent announcement of yet another far above inflation increase in tariffs forcing businesses to fork out additional expenses with funds they simply do not have. The current situation makes an absolute mockery of the Eskom Social Compact signed at NEDLAC, with implementation once again delayed by months following much work and effort by the social partners”.
Practical expressions and pride of place need to be given to the 15 sectoral Master Plans crafted in collaboration with organized labour and business that were announced by Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel last year for sectors such as the Retail, Clothing, Textiles , Footwear and Leather Masterplan; and the Auto-Manufacturing, Poultry, Sugar Manufacturing, Digital Communications and Technology and Aerospace Master Plans
These domestic measures could also be strengthened by reviewing and cleaning-up blockages that have bedevilled and continue to bedevil the Expanded Public Works Programmes (EPWP) including allegations of corruption, nepotism and that EPWP jobs are displacing permanent employment.
FEDUSA also expects President Ramaphosa to retain and encourage NEDLAC Social Partners to continue being active participants in the economy after the key role they played last year in putting together the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (ERRP) and signing the Social Compact on Eskom at the NEDLAC Summit in December which is vitally important for the national energy security.
In the same vein President Ramaphosa is expected to give some clear directions on the Basic Income Grant and Wealth Tax proposals that have been coming from NEDLAC Social Partners to alleviate the severe challenges that have brought up by the pandemic.
“Fedusa expects the President of the Republic to outline respect for collective bargaining and the implementation of collective agreements in the public service , we believe the President of the Republic understands this as he has been co-chairing the Global Commission on the Future of Work ,‘’ said Ajam
The Zondo Commission into State Capture has uncovered dramatic theft of public resources by officials and politically connected individuals and FEDUSA calls on the President to talk about concrete plans to fight corruption and plans to rebuild dysfunctional municipalities, government departments and State Owned Enterprises where public transport agencies like PRASA and Metrorail remain big concerns, albeit NDP targets and renewed commitments via the ERRP, concluded Ajam. The recent revelations on the larger scale theft with the procurement of PPE’s amidst the pandemic does not bode well with the assurances given with the procuring and distribution of the so badly needed vaccines.
For interviews please contact:
Ms Riefdah Ajam
FEDUSA General Secretary
079 696 2625
FEDUSA Media and Research Officer
072 637 8096