COSATU welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, that trade union, Employee Share Ownership Programmes and cooperatives will now be included under government’s definitions of companies qualifying for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment status.
Their exclusion to date made no sense and was in fact an irrational obstacle for workers, women, the unemployed, persons with disabilities, and people in the rural areas to pool their resources together and enter the economy as owners and investors.
Most of the trade unions’ membership are persons who fall under BBBEE categories. The exclusion of their organisations, namely trade unions, only served to stymy efforts for workers to invest in the economy on their own terms and to have ownership of their investments.
The inclusion of Employee Share Ownership Programmes (ESOPs) will help spur the inclusion of workers as shareholders of their companies. This will boost their incomes and give them a sense of ownership and empowerment. It will further contribute to labour market stability and the transformation of the economy from one that is still predominantly white-owned, to one that reflects South Africa’s diversity and full potential.
Legitimate cooperatives have long been the forgotten stepchild of company ownership, yet they have huge potential, especially in rural and informal areas. COSATU cautions against the abuse of cooperatives to circumvent labour laws as has been happening with bogus cooperatives frequently. The Federation, through, cautions against cooperatives being used as vehicles for corruption.
The Federation hopes that the inclusion of trade unions, ESOPs, and cooperatives under the BBBEE definitions will help spur such investments and that workers, will reap the rewards.
Issued by COSATU.
For further comment: Matthew Parks-COSATU Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687