/ 10 July 2008

Cosatu declares war on hunger

War will be declared on hunger and poverty, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) told a food seminar in Midrand on Thursday.

”We are going to the trenches to fight hunger and poverty,” said Cosatu’s Gauteng provincial secretary, Siphiwe Mgcina.

He told the gathering of thousands of people bussed in from all corners of the province that a solution to increasing food prices and the subsequent impact it has will ”condemn” millions of people to poverty.

He said a solution needs to be found by the country, and not the world leaders at the Group of Eight (G8) summit.

”We call it [the G8] the Oprah Winfrey show because, like Oprah, it has not delivered. They promised us they would deal with it. But we’re saying as Africans, we are going to have to find our own solutions,” Mgcina said.

The gap between the rich and the poor is also too wide, and the federation pledged that it will strive to close this divide.

Big companies that collude and fix prices are ”gangsters” , and he called on the Competition Commission to ”bite”.

”We want all those gangsters in the poultry industry to be arrested,” he said.

Mgcina also lashed out at Sasol, saying regardless of the global oil price, why is it not playing a role in easing the impact on consumers and motorists.

”We have our own Sasol. How does Sasol assist us, except in saying we must buy shares.”

He said the company knew it was going to become a national asset and is ”playing with our emotions”.

The South African Communist Party (SACP) said the Competition Commission could not deal with price fixers.

”The Competition Commission will not be able to deal with them,” said SACP provincial chairperson Zico Tamela. ”It is naïve to think that we can break the monopolies or break them down. The only way to discipline them is to nationalise them,” he said. — Sapa