SAFTU demands a people’s centred budget

SAFTU leadership at the press conference. provincial treasurer, Nonzukiso Mlungwana, general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi and provincial secretary, Andre Adams.

SAFTU believes that the budget speech that will be delivered on Wednesday will not be different to the ones before it.

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) announced that the federation will continue to fight and resist the unbundling of Eskom. The federation is planning to march to parliament on Wednesday to demand  a people’s budget on the same day the Minister of Finance will be delivering the budget speech.

During his state of the nation address, President Cyril Ramaphosa divulge that Eskom will be unbundled into three separate parts, generation, transmission and distribution which according to the trade union federation means privatization.  The federation argues that the refusal by Trevor Manuel in 2009 for a R1000 billion recapitalization programme which was request by the Eskom board is the root cause of the crisis at the power supplier.

“ This was so as to weaken Eskom and eventually hand it over to the private sector, a process continuing with the plan to introduce IPPs ( Independent Power Producers) to compete with Eskom, so that Eskom will subsidize the private sector. SAFTU views this as concealed privatization and is therefore a declaration of war,” said SAFTU’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.

Last week  South Africa experienced stage 4 loadshedding after, according to the statement from the power utility, their generators including the new ones at Medupi and Kusile failed.

“ Eskom’s disaster has been compounded by a decade of corruption, incompetence’ mismanagement and sabotage, involving board members private suppliers, including Gupta-owned companies, and the ANC’s investment arm, Chancellor House,” said Vavi.

The Minister of Finance is expected to provide a bailout to Eskom, something that the trade union federation believes it will affect public spending. The federation is proposing that the tax on the rich be increased. According to Vavi they do not support the renewables under the private sector as they are already charging Eskom above-market rates.

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According to SAFTU the budget speech by Tito Mboweni will be more of the same to the previous proposals that are based on neoliberal economic policies. “ He will deliver more of his predecessors’ catastrophic neoliberal ‘business as usual’ policies which caused today’s crisis in the first place-policies dictated by the credit rating agencies on behalf of multinational big business,” said Vavi.

The union according to SAFTU’ provincial secretary hopes to attract thousands of workers and community members to the march on Wednesday.

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