COSATU statement on the President’s announcement of further measures to combat COVID-19

 The Congress of South African Trade Union is deeply concerned about the rise in infections, in particular, in various identified hotspots.  The economy and workers simply cannot afford a second wave and the UIF will not manage a second extreme lockdown.

 The additional health and safety measures announced are noted and welcomed. We hope that they will be sufficient to curb the spread and will also remind South Africans not to be complacent. However, the government needs to do much more to deal with employers and ordinary citizens who flout them and thus expose the rest of society.

 More measures are needed to deal with super spreader hotspots, in particular bars, beaches, parties, and funerals. We must do everything to stop the spread so that we can allow the economy to recover with minimal interruptions.

 We endorse the measures that have been introduced in hotspots like Nelson Mandela Bay.

COSATU finds its insulting that public servants, who are working tirelessly to fight this deadly virus are still being dragged to court by a government that is refusing to honour the 2018 wage agreement, and on top of that it is proposing a three-year wage freeze.

 It is shameful that the government has not announced any interventions to fix the Loan Guarantee Scheme which is meant to provide financial relief for distressed companies. Eight months after its launch, the scheme has dispersed only 8% of the promised R200 billion.

 It is immoral and callous that government retains restrictions that bar workers with co-morbidities or are over 60 years old or work from restricted or locked down businesses, and at the same time it has unilaterally stopped the UIF’s COVID-19  TERS Fund. Workers who are not allowed to return to work by the government must be provided with relief by the UIF. UIF has sufficient funds; to help workers’ in their moment of need.

 The private sector needs to assist by providing meaningful relief to workers and businesses in distress. Employers need to show compassion and stop ongoing retrenchments. Alternatives must be found that do not add to the disastrous rate of unemployment.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794