South Africa 3.9.2018 02:01 pm

ANC ‘concerned’ about Sasol white workers’ strike

FILE PICTURE: ANC national executive committee member Pule Mabe. Picture: Michel Bega

FILE PICTURE: ANC national executive committee member Pule Mabe. Picture: Michel Bega

Spokesperson Pule Mabe says the ‘obsession with perpetuating racial polarisation does nothing towards advancing our forward momentum as a nation.’

The ANC said on Monday it had “noted with concern the strike called by Solidarity against the employee share scheme targeting black employees at Sasol.”

An earlier Reuters report said workers from South Africa’s mainly white Solidarity union are engaged in a go-slow protest at Sasol over a share scheme offered exclusively to black staff and will launch a full strike on Thursday. The Solidarity union also said it will file a complaint to US regulators over the petrochemicals firm’s “discriminative” black share scheme.

Commenting on the matter, the ANC said the right to strike was “sacrosanct to our democracy” and Solidarity has every right to exercise that right.

“However, we must be concerned when the rights we fought for and encoded in our nation’s Bill of Rights are abused for nefarious reasons that seek to undermine our democracy,” said Pule Mabe, the ANC national spokesperson.

“The ANC is deeply concerned about the racist overtones of this strike, which seek to reverse the gains of our democracy.”

Mabe said that, historically, Sasol has always had schemes that benefited white employees to the exclusion of their black counterparts.

“One of the fundamental tenets of our democracy is enabling economic participation by black people as part of addressing historical inequalities,” said the ANC national spokesperson.

“We applaud the initiative taken by Sasol and welcome its contribution towards the realisation of our constitutional imperative to share the wealth of the country with all her citizens. In characterising the Sasol initiative as racial exclusion is at best malicious and at worst dishonest.”

He said the objective to achieve 25% direct black ownership in Sasol South Africa is a step in the right direction and is in line with the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment legislation and should be supported.

“We call on Solidarity to become part of the nation-building project that seeks to build a prosperous nation where all citizens share in the nation’s wealth and have equal opportunities to fully participate in the economy,” said Mabe.

“Their obsession with perpetuating racial polarisation does nothing towards advancing our forward momentum as a nation.”

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