Celebrating and Defending Our Freedom in Difficult Times

27 April 2021

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) wishes workers and all South Africans a happy Freedom Day. This is an important day for workers, and it reminds us of the sacrifices that delivered us the freedom. FEDUSA also salutes all health care workers and essential services workers for their continued commitment in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

After 27 years of democracy, many people still do not have access to water and decent housing. Our health system is not adequately funded and again experiencing threats of sufficient energy supply which will negatively affect our already struggling economy.

That South Africa continuous to be the most economically and socially unequal society in the world 27 years after the first democratic elections in April 1994 is a severe indictment on the national psyche. Unemployment has now risen to a staggering 40%. The Statistician General has interpreted the latter to mean that there are less and less jobs for people of working age, each successive quarter.

This scenario, which has been aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, justifies organized labour’s calls for a Universal Basic Income Grant (UBIG) – an unconditional and equal tranche of cash paid to everyone by the state – to alleviate the suffering.

UBIG has a legal standing in Section 27 of the Constitution which guarantees the rights of workers and communities to food, health care, shelter and education, meaning that labour doesn’t have to reinvent the will.

What is more, Section 27 has a gathered a dramatic resonance in the recent past after government not only reneged on honouring the 2018 Wage Agreement with public sector trade unions but has also signalled a wage freeze for the public service in the next three years.

In addition, the industrial scale theft of life saving Personal Protective Equipments (PPEs) for our frontline health workers and communities at large by politically connected individuals, means that we can only defend our freedom by demanding the prosecution of those who have been implicated.

As FEDUSA, we would also like to affirm our support and empathy for fellow workers in Brazil and India who are going through difficult times because of large numbers of COVID-19 infections and fatalities.

(366 Words)

For interviews please contact:

Ms Riefdah Ajam

FEDUSA General Secretary

079 696 2625

Mr Ashley Benjamin

FEDUSA Deputy General Secretary

083 258 4433

Issued by:

Frank Nxumalo

FEDUSA Media and Research Officer

072 637 8096