/ 22 June 2012

Cosatu lays blame for violence on DA’s doorstep

DA marchers protest in favour of the youth wage subsidy.
DA marchers protest in favour of the youth wage subsidy.

“We have concrete evidence that [Democratic Alliance leader Helen] Zille’s … bakkie was full of bricks,” Congress of South African Trade Unions provincial chairperson Dumisani Dakile told reporters in Johannesburg.

“Wait, and watch this space … we will reveal the evidence at the appropriate time. We are waiting for the DA to proceed with its criminal charge [against Cosatu].”

DA spokesperson Mmusi Maimane denied that the bakkie carried any bricks.

“Let Cosatu produce the evidence. We had journalists sitting on the same bakkie that they are talking about. Wouldn’t they have noticed the stones?” he asked.

“Cosatu must stop playing political games.”

Dakile said the “attack” was part of a right-wing uprising in the country, led by the DA.

“The PEC [provincial executive committee] felt the attack … was not an accident but a well-orchestrated strategy by the right-wing elements within the country as led by the DA to undermine workers, [the] working class, and the poor.”

More ‘cohesion’
Several people were injured when the union confronted the DA during a march on the Cosatu head office in Johannesburg on May 15.

Dakile said the PEC discussed next week’s ANC policy conference and felt the party needed more “cohesion”, especially with regard to its branches in the Free State and the North West.

“This lack of discipline … indicates the need for organisational renewal [within the ANC],” he said.

“We also make a humble plea to the ANC Youth League … It cannot define itself outside the ANC. There is life beyond this [expulsion of former leader Julius Malema].”

Dakile said Cosatu would release a statement detailing its views on the ANC’s policy discussion documents later on Friday.

He said the Gauteng e-tolling matter should be resolved by the end of July.

“The proposals [by Cosatu] are around the introduction of a fuel levy of 14 cents per litre, an increase of [a] 1% tax bracket to all those earning above R600 000 per annum, and the contribution of one day’s profit, once-off, by companies in the republic,” he said.

“This should cover the obligation of those who borrowed money [to implement e-tolling].”

Wage demands
Dakile said government’s claim that it did not have enough money to meet the wage demands of workers in the public sector was false.

“We are conscious of the fact that there are economic challenges, and 8% would be a fair deal,” he said.

“But what about when they [government] have to buy cars … or loan R2-billion to bail out the IMF [International Monetary Fund]?”

Public Service Minister Lindiwe Sisulu said on Tuesday government had offered civil servants a nine percent raise, made up of a 6.5% salary rise and a 2.5% increase in benefits.

Labour is demanding an 8% salary increase.

Dikale said Cosatu called on government and business to “save workers” from recent platinum mine closures.

“The PEC also welcomed the swift intervention by the National Union of Mineworkers to deal with this matter. We will be following these events with keen interest.”

Operations at Aquarius Platinum’s Everest mine near Lydenburg in Mpumalanga were suspended on Thursday because of low commodity prices and labour issues.

The company also mothballed its Marikana shaft in Kroondal, North West last week. Both closures were related to poor platinum prices. – Sapa