COSATU congratulates Professor Chris Malikane on his new position and denounces his unwarranted criticism by agents of white monopoly capital

COSATU congratulates Prof Chris Malikane on his appointment as an adviser to the Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba and denounces his unwarranted criticism by those who are resistant to change and want to defend their inherited privileges. Whilst this appointment is unlikely to change Treasury’s conservative approach to macroeconomic policy issues, it is a step in the right direction. For the first time since the dawn of democracy it will give a space to a different economic philosophy than the mainstream free market fundamentalism, which has been followed by Treasury since 1900’s, and was subsequently adopted by the ANC led government after 1994 with disastrous consequences for the working class and the poor.

The federation calls for the new Minster of Finance to work hard to win the confidence of ordinary South Africans, the working class and the poor in particular and not spend his time trying to only appease the rating agencies and agents of white monopoly capital. These institutions do not have the interests of South Africans at heart; otherwise we would not be having a permanent unemployment rate of more than 25%.

The Treasury’s mandate should be radical economic transformation and the Minister should ensure that the National Treasury put timelines in place to implement the minimum programme which is the Freedom Charter.

We want to see them increase the role of factories in the economy and to reduce the expansion of malls and big retail shops. Treasury should work to prioritise the increase of local investment in the economy and change the macro-economic policies to target redistribution of wealth and employment than inflation.

COSATU wants to see government renationalise privatised state companies starting with ArcelorMittal South Africa formerly Iscor, Telkom, Vodacom and Sasol and also the de-commercialisation of Eskom and Denel. They should regulate the prices of key inputs in the economy such as finance, cement, coal, transport, food and clothing and also put ceilings on ownership of wealth creating assets.

The nationalisation of strategic sectors of the economy should meet three objectives; Stimulate economic growth,creation of decent jobs and also to determine the strategic direction of the economy

We want to see them implement infant industry policies by renegotiating trade agreements and allocating and guaranteeing markets to worker owned companies and cooperatives and companies owned by HDI.   They must put performance requirements on investors such as creation of jobs for South Africans, and also use local inputs and services for both private and public sector companies.

Basic infrastructure and services should remain in public hands in order to address apartheid imbalances and abolish outsourcing of basic public services such as security, cleaning, food and catering and gardening. We reiterate our longstanding call for the abolition of labour brokers.

Treasury should prohibit any transfer of taxpayers’ moneys to labour brokers whether or not through employment tax incentives. They must put in wage ceilings in order to close the apartheid wage gap among different races and among managers/CEO’s and low paid workers.

We want to see an increase in allocations to the department of labour to implement labour laws and to human right organisations to ensure that the private sector implements socioeconomic constitutional rights such as the right to housing.

This National Treasury should implement ANC resolutions such as the establishment of a state bank and expropriation of land without compensation for land which was stolen, including unused land. We also want to see them suspend Independent Power Producer contracts and Nuclear Contracts.

Above all, what is important is that Treasury should be changed from within because it would be difficult to achieve any policy reform. Radical transformation needs agents and these are in a deficit in the current Treasury. In this regard COSATU condemns the private media‘s criticism of FM’s appointment of Prof Malikane and warn the minister not to allow himself to be swayed by the institutionalised attitudes of corporate commercial media but listen to the people of South Africa. Failure to do this will result in the ANC government being impeached by a dysfunctional economy from power in 2019. The people are running out of patience and government is running out of time.

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