COSATU Gauteng statement to Gauteng City Region (GCR) Economic Re-building and Accelerated Initiatives and Collection of Looted Foodstuff

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Gauteng has noted the release of the GCR Economic Re-building and Accelerated Initiatives post riots on the heels of the earlier released Gauteng-Township-Economic-Development Bill 2021 for public consultation.

We have noted the appetite by the GPG to project jobs, build the township economy, create a partnership with the insurance company to develop an insurance scheme for township businesses, assist businesses to recover, and assist to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure.

These initiatives are welcomed but we think the GPG should have at least outlined how many jobs out of the 14 500 lost jobs will the initiatives save, how the government will monitor the commitment of business particularly the retail sector towards saving jobs, and how many new jobs will be created taking into consideration the 600 000 and 14 500 jobs lost due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the riot respectively.

At the same time, the GPG has lost an opportunity to address some of the challenges faced by township shops which have been the pillar of the township economy for many years. We further lament the non-consultation of COSATU in these all-important initiatives by the ANC first and foremost and by GPG, this is regrettable and will in no way be helpful and undermines collective approach in instances like these.

We have noted and appreciates the release of the Gauteng-Township-Economic-Development Bill 2021 for public consultations, we are of the view that GPG is on a good path towards the revitalization of the township economy that has been neglected for quite some time. COSATU will submit inputs to the bill.

COSATU in Gauteng welcomes the work by the law enforcement agencies to collect looted goods during the riots. We are however disappointed that even foodstuff from poor people is confiscated by soldiers and police for destroying afterward. In our view that is an act of a non-carrying and vindictive government.

Whilst all of these are happening and the government continues to embarrass the poor working class for confiscating foodstuff, we know for a fact that consumers will pay through prices increase even when the government is cautioning business through recovery funds they will be receiving. We call the Premier of Gauteng to intervene in this respect and call for law enforcement agencies to confiscate non-perishable goods only.

We have noted the accelerated vaccination in the province as well as the increase of weekend vaccination sites. This will assist to fast-track vaccination in Gauteng and will go a long way to fight Covid-19.

We reiterate our strong held view that only vaccination of all citizens will give a big boost to the management of coronavirus as opposed to lockdowns which caused an economic crisis in the province that resulted in more than 600 000 jobs lost in 2020 only.

We call all workers and the citizens of Gauteng to continue to observe Covid-19 health protocols even if they are fatigued to do so. This is the only way to stay safe from this deadly virus.

Issued by COSATU Gauteng

Provincial Secretary: Louisa Modikwe – 066 182 2402

Provincial Chairperson: Amos Monyela – 079 493 5002