FEDUSA SONA 2022 Expectations

10 February 2022

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) expects President Cyril Ramaphosa to make a  conclusive decision on the introduction of a Universal Basic Income Grant (UBIG) during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday. The UBIG should replace the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant (SRD) of R350 a month which is set to expire at the end of March.

Government should also consider increasing the R350 SRD to cushion the poor and the vulnerable against the ever increasing cost of living.

.The real state of the nation at this point in time has two critical dimension: one economic and the other social. The economic dimension is given by the fact that quarter after quarter, Statistics South Africa publishes dramatic increases in the unemployment rate, which is now standing at 46.6% nationally and at 75% for school leavers and young people in general.

The real state of the nation from a social perspective is given by the social injustice of glaring and deepening inequality which according to the latest World Inequality Report shows that as much as 65% of the country’s wealth is hoarded by 10% of the population while the bottom 50% have to fight fiercely over 5% of national resources.

Cabinet’s ratification of the International Labour Organization’s Convention 190 – which is popularly known as C190 and for which labour fought for, for many years –  was one of the most progressive executive action of the past year.

However, FEDUSA would like to hear the President announce concrete plans for domestication and popularizing C190 on the ground in order to help and empower thousands of women who are victims of the scourge of Gender Based Violence.

We call on President and government to review the taxes and levies associated with petrol prices in order to bring relief to workers and boost economic growth. The recent increases in the repo rate by the South African Reserve Bank will have a negative impact on the disposable income of many struggling households in our country. FEDUSA, therefore, calls on the government and the Reserve Bank to stay further increases in the repo rate in the remainder of the year.

The recent application by Eskom for a 20.5% increase in electricity tariffs will further destroy jobs and economic growth should NERSA approve the application. We call on the President to urgently fix Eskom to ensure a consistent supply of electricity at an affordable price to South Africans.

We also want the President to announce that he respects the fundamental rights of workers to collective bargaining and to fast-track the legislation to allow workers to access a portion of their retirement savings in order to cushion them against the economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We call on President Ramaphosa to make funding and resources available to prosecute those implicated in the Zondo State Capture Report as a matter of priority and to recover all stolen money.

(487 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

072 6378096