Cosatu demands Minister Bathabile Dlamini’s removal

Issuing a stern warning to Minister Dlamini is KZN Cosatu Secretary Edwin Mkhize. Listening attentively are Muzi Zakwe and Lindah Mashaba of Cosatu uMhlathuze

DESPITE assurances by President Jacob Zuma that the country’s 17 million grant recipients will be paid on 1 April this year, KZN Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) believes Social

Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini should vacate her ministerial post with immediate effect.

KZN Provincial Secretary Edwin Mkhize said the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) debacle has proved that the embattled minister lacks the know-how of turning her department around and does not have the capacity to deliver.

Mkhize was speaking at the COSATU uMhlathuze ‘Local Listening Campaign’ held at the eSikhaleni TVET College last week

‘Our view is that should the government fail to pay pensioners and other grant recipients, they will see us on the side of the people.

‘The damages that the minister has created in that department warrant her removal from office.

Whether pensioners will be paid on 1 April or not, she must be removed.

‘When you are deployed as a government minister, you must do your work by ensuring that there is capacity in your department. We need to put it on record that we don’t have a personal vendetta against the minister, we are merely addressing the genuine concerns of the people,’ said Mkhize.

Unemployment

Mkhize said they were also concerned about the high unemployment levels in the country, as many companies were collapsing.

‘We are no longer in a position to attract investments. In KZN alone there are about three million people who are without jobs, and that alone indicates how serious the situation is.

The unemployment rate in the country is sitting at 27% and this is a cause for concern.’
Mkhize urged shop stewards and workers who attended to return to the basics.

‘While all this is happening, we are also not doing our work as Cosatu, which is to check the conditions of the workers and defend them.

‘We are also not taking up the struggle for both domestic and farm workers.

‘Through these listening campaigns we want to hear more from workers raising issues. We must take up campaigns against food prices, public transport and tollgates which keep escalating.

‘We are also concerned about the implementation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) adopted in 2007 during the ANC’s National Conference, which is moving at a snail’s pace,’ he said.

Minimum wage

Reacting to the new National Minimum Wage of R3 500, Mkhize said this was round one of their struggle, adding that the minimum wage was not a ‘replacement of a living wage’.

‘What it means is that workers must not be exploited beyond this rate. In fact, our research and mandate from our workers was that a decent living wage for South African workers should be in the region of between R4 500 and R5 300.

‘Our major concern is that the gap between the rich and poor in this country is widening,’ he said.

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  AUTHOR
Wiseman Mthiyane
Journalist

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