COSATU Gauteng’s reaction to the State of the Province Address

The Congress of South African Trade Unions in Gauteng welcomes the general thrust of the inaugural State of the Province Address delivered by Premier, Panyaza Lesufi. The Federation welcomes the proposed establishment of the Provincial State Pharmaceutical Company and the State Developmental Bank. These two if implemented will relieve the working class from financial and pharmaceutical monopolies by the four major banks and three major pharmaceutical companies in South Africa. We shall await the modalities for the implementation of these two progressive long-standing resolutions of COSATU.

We have also noted interventions in combatting crime in the province. Whilst the interventions are welcomed and will go a long way to create a peaceful province, we are of the view that the proposed interventions should be coupled with community engagement on how to combat crime collectively. Many criminals are known to communities. Police partnerships with communities will assist to combat crime in the province.

We further note the interventions which seek to build the township economy which include identifying spaza shops development as well as the building of modern taxi rank. We are of the view that more interventions are required to build the township economy. COSATU will henceforth convene an economic summit that will focus on developing community-driven economic interventions with minimum intervention from the state.

The Federation is disappointed that the Premier did not address the province on the economic interventions that will be implemented in the next 12 months. The economy of the province has not grown as expected and the Premier said nothing about what the Economic Reconstruction Program has achieved, as it relates to job creation since its adoption two years ago.

We are also not convinced that the e-tolls have been scrapped, the Premier should have outlined how funding for e-tolls, particularly 30% to be contributed by Gauteng Provincial Government will be managed. The pronouncement by the Premier late last year suggests that the debts will be directed to consumers indirectly, something that COSATU will not accept.

We expected the Premier to say more about how to rescue the collapsing health infrastructure and health system. The Provincial State Pharmaceutical Company will not be the panacea for all health challenges in the province. We are hoping that the MEC of Health will outline rescue packages for the health system.

Most ideas and pledges by the Premier are doable. However, with the little time remaining before the end of the term of the 6th Administration, slow state machinery, red tape, and corruption, the Federation doubts that much will be achieved. Whilst these are appreciated, COSATU will put in place a team that will monitor the implementation of promises made by the Premier and holds him accountable on a quarterly basis.

Issued by COSATU Gauteng

Provincial Secretary – Louisa Modikwe: 066 182 2402

Provincial Chairperson – Amos Monyela: 079 493 5002