Zuma wrong, says Vavi

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has raised concerns about ANC president Jacob Zuma’s assertion this week that there is no need for his in coming government to review monetary policy.

Vavi said in an interview that Zuma’s comment contradicted the ANC’s Polokwane resolutions and manifesto.

”We hold a different view — he must to talk to the banks. They will relate a very sorry story of how many houses people are losing on a daily basis, how many cars are repossessed. This has nothing to do with [consumer] recklessness, but rather the high interest rate.

”Our economy was creating 500 000 jobs every year, but not any more. This has nothing to do with the global financial crisis, but with monetary policy. We need a review of monetary policy. The current financial situation, not price stabilisation, demands that we do that,” said Vavi.

He said Cosatu expected Zuma to provide policy direction immediately after he takes over as president.

”We want him to give us direction. We want to see flags erected in relation to job creation, health insurance, the crisis over ARVs.”

Vavi said he expected Zuma and his ministers to address the nation every day.

”I don’t agree with everything Barack Obama does, but at least he has managed to keep the nation informed on developments.

”We want [Zuma and his ministers] to tell us how we going to survive the current situation. This crisis is huge; we’ve never seen anything like it. If it lasts any longer, we’re likely to lose all we’ve achieved in the past 15 years.”

He said Cosatu would give Zuma ”33 days” to take action.

Although Vavi refused to comment on whether Finance Minister Trevor Manuel should retain his portfolio in the new government, he said Cosatu wanted Zuma’s new administration to shift the powers of treasury.

”The finance minister can no longer give economic direction. No more single bull in the house. The direction should come from a committee of ministers or the planning commission within the presidency,” he said.

Vavi added that Cosatu would ensure that Zuma keeps to his promises that ministers who do not perform will be fired.

”The Labour Relation Act should not apply to lazy ministers. The thing of keeping deadwood in Cabinet belongs in the past.”

Vavi acknowledged that the trade union federation has lost some of its battles with the ANC, including that over its demands for a reconfigured alliance and a pact with the in coming government. But he said Cosatu plans to have its leader co-opted into the national executive committee of the ANC.

”We failed to find each other on the pact, but there will be programmes on which we will work together,” he said.

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