New ANC leaders to meet Cosatu over workers' issues

19 December 2022 - 19:42
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Cosatu deputy general-secretary Solly Phetoe. File photo.
Cosatu deputy general-secretary Solly Phetoe. File photo.
Image: File/ Thulani Mbele

Hours after being elected, the new ANC top 7 have scheduled a meeting with the leadership of Cosatu to discuss the plight of workers, including the stalemate over public sector wages.

This was confirmed to TimesLIVE by Cosatu deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe on the sidelines of ANC national conference at Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

Cosatu welcomed the re-election of Cyril Ramaphosa as president of the ANC and the new top 7 that includes deputy president Paul Mashatile and secretary-general Fikile Mbalula, who will have to vacate his post as transport minister because the ANC position is full-time at its headquarters, Luthuli House, in Johannesburg.

Phetoe said the new leaders of the ANC agreed to a meeting with the trade union federation to discuss issues faced by workers in the public service.

“We hope the discussion will centre on the issues workers have raised and the unemployment rate. We also need to deal with the issue of economic recovery and reconfiguration of the alliance."

Phetoe said he had spoken to Mbalula and Ramaphosa, who agreed the meeting is urgent.

“The issues on the agenda are the economic challenges we face, broader issues faced by workers, the unemployment rate and other worker issues raised to the previous ANC leadership, including the impasse in the public service regarding wages,” Phetoe said.

This follows a breakdown in public sector wage talks and strike certificates issued to four unions by the public sector bargaining council last month.

On the reconfiguration of the ANC-led tripartite alliance, Phetoe said he hoped the new leadership's programme would prioritise issues affecting society and workers.

“The reconfiguration of the alliance must be a joint programme, one that will advance the issues affecting workers and society. We think now the ANC has opened their mind to that policy, as it is very important,” he added.

SACP general-secretary Solly Mapaila also welcomed the new leadership, saying they expected the renewal of the governing party to be prioritised.

“The working class is looking to them to transform their lives. They must focus on servicing the people to ensure government's policies respond to the needs of the people rather than their own personal feelings.”

Mapaila agreed the reconfiguration of the alliance should be finalised.

“Conference has accepted the necessity of the reconfiguration of the alliance, it doesn’t have to rely on what leaders are elected.

“The policy has been taken, and this will define the relationship of the alliance and the configuration in future.”

LISTEN | Mondli Gungubele, Baleka Mbete, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, Mmamoloko Kubayi react to new leadership

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