South Africa: Social Compact for Unity and Progress - If Ramaphosa Has His Way and His Ministers Can Deliver


In a State of the Nation Address with something for everyone, it's difficult to take umbrage. And so the response to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening was largely welcoming -- with a quibble, or even objection, here and there.

When labour federation Cosatu remains calm in the face of a presidential announcement that the public wage bill will have to be "contained", something's up. And that would be behind-the-scenes discussions to pave the way when around mid-2020 the negotiations for a new three-year wage deal must start.

"Largely pleasing. Positive," was how Cosatu parliamentary co-ordinator Matthew Parks described the State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday night.

The presidential commitment to work with social partners on Eskom was welcome, even if the speech was "a bit thin on State-owned Entities (SOEs), and SAA in particular" by talking rationalisation and better efficiencies without detail.

"The restructuring of the entire public sector needs to happen and happen fast because the weak capacity of the state is making it difficult for it to drive its developmental agenda and deliver much-needed services to people."

It's understood proposals to structurally change the public wage bill that at around 46% of spending is giving...

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