The President said whatever they do they will never “surrender” the interests of workers.
ANC leader Cyril Ramaphosa used this year’s 1 May speech in Durban to assure workers that the government is not and was not going to betray and sell them to private interests.
The President’s assurance comes amid concerns from the workers’ unions of his plan to unbundle Eskom as well as the introduction of Independent Power Producers. The unions see this as privatising of the power utility and selling out of workers by the government.
Speaking to scores who had attended Cosatu’s main Worker’s Day rally at the Sugar Xulu stadium, Ramaphosa said as government they will ensure that the interest of workers come first.
He said the faith of workers in the ANC government will never be overtaken by greed and the push for individual wealth accumulation.
“Of everything that we do we must never surrender your interests and indeed the revolution to other interests and subject the interests of the working people of our country to any interests,” the President said.
“We must never subject them to greed, to corruption or even to patronage,” he said.
He said as leaders they will not “hand over the institutions” that are meant to advance workers’ interest.
Ramaphosa said while this was so there also needed to be ways to grow the economy and contribute to meaningful job creation. The economy will also have to transform to accommodate everyone irregardless of skin colour, said Ramaphosa.
“We need to embark on programmes that are going to create jobs,” he said, “in programs that are going to create employment and that are also going to transform the economy of our country, so that we are able to have an economy where everyone can share in the inclusive growth we hope to have”.
Ramaphosa shared the stage with Cosatu President Zingizwa Losi and SACP secretary Blade Nzimande.
He said the numbers of people that came to the stadium was proof that Cosatu was “strong, alive and vibrant” and proving those who had been “writing on Cosatu’s tombstone” wrong.
He also condemned the abuse and rape of women in South Africa, calling on all men to take responsibility in making sure women live comfortably and safely.
Ramaphosa also thanked Cosatu for leading successful minimum wage negotiations.
“Only a united ANC, Cosatu and Sanco can lead and give people what they demand. Your presence here shows the strength of Cosatu,” he said.
He said the ANC will try “ceaselessly” to achieve the purpose of its own renewal, and that this will be done in collaboration with the alliance and the working class.
Therefore, Ramaphosa added, it’s important to fight anything that promotes factionalism in the ANC and its broader alliance movement.
He said only the alliance partners, together, can fight unemployment.
He said the private companies will also have to meet government programs half-way and not be “stubborn”.
“It is only through transformation of the economy that people can enjoy the bounties of the country,” said Ramaphosa.
“We need to embark on programmes that accelerate growth and create employment but also transform the economy so it’s one where everyone can share in inclusive growth.
“Our lived experience tells us we must undertake fundamental transformation of our economy in circumstances that are not of our choosing. We have to shift the balances of forces at all times,” Ramaphosa told the May Day rally.
(edited by MLM)
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