This decision was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the nation on Sunday evening, 12 July.
In a statement, Cosatu it will submit a Section 77 application at Nedlac “to engage on” on the decision “with the hope of finding a resolution”, adding that it reserves “the right to mobilise for a protest action if we are not happy with the outcomes of negotiations”.
Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act is intended to bring together disputing parties so that they can engage on a matter so as to find a resolution and attempt to prevent protest action.
“This deadly appeasement and capitulation by the government is happening at a time when more workers are getting infected by the deadly Covid-19 virus.
“Following a meeting with the Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula that was held on the 14th July 2020 to discuss the challenges in the transport Sector at Nedlac, the federation has resolved to go the route of Section 77 and also elevate this matter to the Presidency,” Cosatu’s statement reads.
It said it was disappointed that despite social partners submitting numerous detailed proposals to deal with many of the challenges in the public transport sector, Mbalula is going ahead with developing “regulations and funding models without involving the social partners”.
“This is despite the fact that these regulations will affect workers and commuters.
“In the meeting, the Ministry outlined the discussions that had been taking place with the taxi sector and the financial implications of reduced passenger levels.
“While there were many areas of convergence between all the parties like on the labour’s proposal to spread the peak and stagger working hours, the decision to allow taxis to fill their taxis 100% remains a thorny issue.
“Workers want a comprehensive overhaul of the transport system and this crisis should be used to transform the sector in a fundamental way. We agree with the president that this crisis should be used to transform the health sector and introduce the NHI, but we also want the same for the transport sector.
“Workers want the intervention in the transport sector to be guided by the need to build an effective and efficient Public transport system focussed on commuters and not on securing the interests of bus and taxi operators. To achieve such a comprehensive solution all the role players should be included in the ongoing negotiations,
“Labour and other Nedlac partners have stressed that any support of the taxi industry from the fiscus must be on condition of formalisation of the industry, as well as compliance with all laws, including Labour regulations and TAX compliance.
“Labour also raised concerns about the situation in Metrorail, with regard to constant changes in leadership and wanton corruption and vandalization of the rail infrastructure. The security companies working in the sector are part of the problem and special disaster regulations must be used to curtail the attempts to stop the restructuring of the entire management and administrative functions of rail security in the courts. The organised assault on the rail infrastructure has sinister roots and the state security agencies must investigate and prosecute guilty persons as a matter of urgency.
“Whilst Labour remains ready to engage, we are pursuing the Section 77 route because we cannot postpone the responsibility of protecting our members. The safety of workers is non-negotiable. Our responsibility as the trade union movement is to protect the lives and the livelihoods of our members and the decision to allow taxis to do as they please will have deadly consequences.
“We hope that this section 77 will lead to a detailed structured engagement to find solutions and but if we are not happy, we will exercise our right to withdraw their labour and engage in lawful protests.”
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)