'Jobless on the brink'
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the ANC-led government must change its macroeconomic policies because the victims of unemployment, poverty and inequalities are on the brink of losing their patience.
Speaking to journalists after Cosatu's central committee meeting in Johannesburg yesterday, Vavi said the trade union federation would ask the ANC at its policy conference to be held in Gauteng later this month to implement radical changes to the economy or face the consequences.
He said when people are hit hard by unemployment and poverty, they will forget the ANC inherited the economic crisis from the apartheid government and could abandon the ruling party in desperation for change.
He said politicians should stop giving highly polished speeches at local and global summits and implement macroeconomic policy changes contained in the Freedom Charter.
"The macroeconomic framework that [the National] Treasury is driving is inappropriate. It will not help us to resolve the crisis of unemployment in the country.
"Unfortunately, one day the ticking time-bomb will explode while you are giving that speech. That is what will happen eventually if we don't change the mindset.
"While we're making a nice speech in a press conference, people will walk in the door and say: 'We are hungry, we are unemployed, we have no houses, we are living far from away our towns with no transport'.
"That is what we are trying to avoid and that's why we are calling on our members to change the mindset," he said.
"The [problem] is that we have moved away from the radical approach of the Freedom Charter to transform society.
"If we continue to carry knives directed at one another, and all of a sudden the people we hate more are not the enemy, then what will happen in this country is what may happen in Greece.
"In Greece, post the 2008 crisis, the Socialist Party that was in power was blamed for a ballooning debt and was voted out by the people who had forgotten how that debt became so unsustainable.
"They had forgotten it was actually the Conservative Party, which is now positioning itself as a champion of stable economic policies, [that was to blame]," Vavi said.