South Africa: Zwelinzima Vavi Interview - Why Trade Unions Are Against Mboweni's Growth Document

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An interview with the prominent trade unionist and general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), the second-largest labour federation after the ANC-aligned Cosatu, with nearly 800,000 members.

There has been fierce opposition from labour circles to Tito Mboweni's strategy document on economic growth and structural reforms. At first, labour was vexed that Mboweni released the document on 27 August without consulting it. Now the anger is centred on one of the document's critical proposals: the sale of Eskom's coal-fired power stations, possibly through auctions.

Mboweni will deliver the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement on 30 October, where he is expected to unveil more details about the restructuring of Eskom and other tax-guzzling state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Saftu has joined the fray, criticising his document.

Question. Saftu has joined Cosatu in rejecting Mboweni's growth document. Economists, researchers, and the private sector have largely welcomed the document. Why is labour so against it?

Answer. He [Mboweni] is offering absolutely nothing new. The document is repeating the same things that we have heard over and over from 1995 up to now. It takes no responsibility that the reason we are finding ourselves in an economic quagmire is that we followed the...

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