Cosatu laments ‘white, capitalist-owned’ JSE

More than 80% of the JSE is accounted for by the large banks and the few companies in the traditional sectors: mining and energy, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has said.

“All these companies are white, private, and capitalist-owned and they are increasingly being foreign-owned,” Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said in his comments on the 100th anniversary of the ruling ANC, of which the union federation is an ally.

There was “significant foreign ownership” of many of these companies.

“Sasol is about 30% foreign-owned and Arcelor-Mittal is 65% foreign owned. Massmart is 60% foreign-owned, Shoprite is 35%, Truworths is 50%, Foschini is 40%, JD Group is 40%, Lewis is 30%, Pick n Pay has less than 10%, Spar under 20% and Mr Price and Woolworths 20%.

“Absa is 56% foreign-owned whilst Standard Bank is at least 40% foreign owned,” Dlamini wrote.

The fact that major conglomerates such as Anglo American had shifted their headquarters and had listed abroad was “an indication of the increasing foreign and imperialist ownership of the means of production in South Africa”.

Dlamini said that economic power was still “very much concentrated” and had increasingly become externalised.

“The drive towards foreign ownership, combined with private ownership of the Reserve Bank, deepens the transformation of the South African economy away from working class control. The centenary celebrations must mean a reversal of this painful reality of our economy.”

Dlamini added that the present economic reality translated into a situation “in which African people remain at the lower end of the ladder”.

It was for this reason that since 1994 Cosatu had remained “consistent in emphasising that the liberation movement must use its position of political incumbency to create a sustainable economic power base for the majority of the blacks and Africans in particular”. — I-Net Bridge

Follow the Mail & Guardian‘s coverage of the ANC’s 100th anniversary.

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