It’s Action Time: COSATU demands that Ramaphosa’s SONA to Provide a Detailed Execution Plan in the Economic Recovery

COSATU demands Ramaphosa's SONA detailed economic recovery plan South Africa

As South Africa braces itself for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday, 11 February, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has issued a resolute set of demands, emphasizing the critical need for detailed implementation plans rather than new economic strategies.

Labour federation COSATU, represented by its parliamentary coordinator Matthew Parks, asserts that the country is in dire straits, with unemployment soaring past 50%. In response, they emphasize the necessity for tangible action to address the economic crisis gripping the nation.

According to COSATU, the cornerstone of Ramaphosa’s SONA must be the elucidation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) and its swift implementation. Parks stresses the urgency of this directive, asserting that the time for rhetoric has passed; what South Africa needs now are concrete timelines and definitive steps towards recovery.

The federation’s demands extend beyond economic revival, encompassing crucial aspects such as the vaccination rollout plan, energy security, stabilization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), and the mobilization of resources to bolster economic growth initiatives. They argue that the government’s adoption of austerity measures has led to detrimental consequences, including cuts to social spending, deteriorating public services, and a decline in the standard of living for many citizens.

COSATU advocates for the extension of relief measures for individuals and businesses affected by lockdown restrictions, including the continuation of the Unemployment Insurance Fund’s Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme and the special Covid-19 grant of R350. They also call for the restructuring of the R200 billion loan guarantee scheme, advocating for lower interest rates and more lenient payment terms.

Additionally, the federation demands debt relief for consumers and businesses, alongside targeted support for sectors disproportionately impacted by lockdown measures. They cite the recent announcement of a R1.2 billion equity fund for the tourism industry as a step in the right direction but emphasize the need for broader and more inclusive relief efforts.

In the realm of energy, COSATU underscores the pivotal role of Eskom in South Africa’s economic recovery, stressing the importance of reliable and affordable energy. They call for progress updates on initiatives outlined in the social compact adopted by the National Economic Development and Labour Council, emphasizing the urgency of addressing corruption and inefficiencies within Eskom.

Furthermore, COSATU highlights the imperative of building state capacity and combating corruption, particularly in light of the challenges exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic. They emphasize the need for a functional state apparatus to effectively address the nation’s pressing issues.

Addressing land reform, COSATU urges Ramaphosa to expedite the process of providing farmworkers with land equity, viewing it as a crucial step towards inclusivity and economic empowerment. They assert that tackling inequality and restructuring the economy are paramount for South Africa’s future prosperity.

COSATU reiterates the urgency of President Ramaphosa’s SONA, emphasizing the need for actionable plans and decisive measures to address the multifaceted challenges facing the nation. They call for a departure from business as usual, advocating for bold and transformative strategies to pave the way towards a more equitable and prosperous future for all South Africans.

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