Cosatu accepts R3500 minimum wage

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini speaks at a media briefing on its ordinary executive committee meeting, 2 March 2017. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini speaks at a media briefing on its ordinary executive committee meeting, 2 March 2017. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Despite its acceptance of the wage deal, Cosatu said it would initiate a campaign for its own minimum wage of R4 500 per month.

Congress of South African Trade Unions has accepted the proposed National Minimun Wage of 20 per hour or R3 500 per month and is ready to sign on the dotted line.

Cosatu Central Executive Committee, which sat in Johannesburg since Monday until Wednesday, mandated the labour body’s national office-bearers to go and sign the wage deal at Nedlac.

Cosatu general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali said the federation believed that while the minimum wage was inadequate to address the minimum living standard of an average household, it is still a significant step forward. “This represents a step forward to the country and for a victory for the workers and their federation,” Ntshalintshali said.

Despite its acceptance of the wage deal, the federation said it would initiate a campaign for its own minimum wage of R4 500 per month.

The federation reiterated its endorsement of deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, as its preferred candidate to succeed President Jacob Zuma as ANC president. The matter was discussed at the CEC and all the unions agreed on Ramaphosa’s name but a campaign for him had not yet started.

Cosatu recently expressed it support for Ramaphosa instead of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, who is a choice for the ANC structures such as the ANC youth and women’s leagues.

Dlamini-Zuma is also endorse by the so-called Premier League – a political cabal comprising of the premiers of Free State Ace Magashule, North West’s Supra Mahumapelo and Mpumalanga’s David Mabuza.

Asked by The Citizen why they believed that Dlamini-Zuma was not a better candidate for the job, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said in doing so, they did not look for a person but for someone who fitted into the federation’s principles and Ramaphosa was that person.

Regarding the fact that Dlamini-Zuma has started campaigning for the position, Dlamini said the problem is with how the ANC dealt with the matter. He said while the campaigning is not open yet, there was a loophole where some were able to campaign despite that existing prohibition to do so by the party.

“There are those who are disadvantaged because, out of the principal to obey the party rules, they are waiting to see when the ANC will open the campaign. But it is not always that those who are in the frontline win,” he said.

Ntshalintshali said they chose Ramaphosa out of principle. “We were not comparing Cyril to anybody else but we believe that he fits our principles as Cosatu, “Ntshalintshali said.

He said the federation was disappointed at the ANC’s deployment of former Eskom CEO, Brian Molefe, as an ANC MP while he had not cleared his name regarding state capture allegations. “He still needs to account on why he resigned and when is he responding to the allegations of corruption during his term as the CEO of Eskom,” Ntshalintshali said.

Molefe resigned from Eskom after he was implicated in the State of Capture Report by former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela last year. He was found to have had several cellphone conversations with one of the Gupta brothers and to have had visited the luxurious Gupta family compound in Saxonwold on several occasions.

But Molefe denied the visits saying he was around the area visiting a shebeen. Such a shebeen was later found to be non-existent.

Cosatu shows support for Gordhan, says Molefe needs to account

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