The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) is to draft proposals for the National Development Plan (NDP), Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel said on Tuesday.
This agreement was reached after Manuel met the union federation at its Roodepoort office to clarify the NDP draft and to hear about issues of concern from Fedusa.
“Fedusa is committed to social dialogue and we think the country needs an open dialogue,” Manuel said.
He said the national planning commission, appointed in May last year to draft a vision and plan for the country, tabled a diagnostic document and identified nine problem areas that needed to be tackled.
These were unemployment, divided communities, crumbling infrastructure, a resource intensive economy, spatial divides, poor education, a high disease burden, poor public service and corruption.
‘A role to play’
Manuel said the same document was being used to consult other interested parties.
The minister said the document could be read in nine South African languages on the commission’s website. An audio version would also be made available.
George described the unions’ meeting with the commission as constructive, saying it presented an opportunity for the federation take part in the NDP.
“We believe the state has a role to play in the economy, such as investing in public education, health, infrastructure and transport,” he said.
“The private sector must also be able to operate in the economy. We are saying government must put proper structures in place to manage competition between small and big businesses and bring down the cost of doing business.”
Issues raised in the meeting included the need for the government to create incentives for local businesses to produce goods locally, instead of importing them.
“We also discussed the issue of cadre deployment that needs to be replaced with the appointments of qualified people who can be held accountable,” George said.
Fedusa was expected to present its proposals to the commission after next year’s budget speech in March. — Sapa