COSATU is deeply concerned by an increase in unilateral and concealed outsourcing of public services to the private sector. 

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has noted with alarm the intensification of unilateral and concealed outsourcing of public services in the state to the private sector, including at Transnet. The Federation remains deeply concerned about the ongoing outsourcing at Transnet, in particular. We denounce and reject the ongoing unbundling and privatisation of Transnet. This will destroy jobs and undermine economic transformation.

This outsourcing and contracting out of services is nothing more than the continued retreat and abandonment of ANC resolutions as we have seen from successive ANC administrations since 1994. The rhetoric about the centrality of job creation and the transformation of the economy has become nothing but an empty slogan.

Transnet is key in transporting mining, manufacturing, and agricultural products to their markets and millions of workers` jobs depend upon its efficient management and not its privatization. Prasa is key to transporting 10 million urban commuters to their workplaces and places of learning daily. 

Our railway network built at great cost over many years is being systematically stripped, vandalized, and destroyed by criminal syndicates. The outsourcing that is happening in this sector is tantamount to concealed privatisation.

The Federation demands open and transparent engagements on the modernization of the Ports Authority.  So far, workers remain deeply worried that they have not been engaged sufficiently by management and that their jobs are at risk of automation and privatisation. 

A discussion is also needed on how Transnet partners with the private sector.  It is critical that the private sector investment strike be ended and that the private sector invests in the economy, including investing in badly needed infrastructure critical to growing the economy and unlocking jobs. 

However, this must not come at the expense of the state or the fiscus.  Strategic involvement by the state in key sectors of the economy is needed to provide services and deliver on a developmental mandate that the private sector cannot be relied upon to fulfill.

This intensification of outsourcing in the state has played itself out in the Post Office, and has affected security services in government, cleaners, Community Health Workers, and Expanded Public Works Programme employees. We call on the ANC government to respect and implement its manifesto.

COSATU will continue to champion the establishment of a capacitated developmental state and oppose privatization when it comes to the expense of workers and taxpayers. Similar discussions are needed on what support Transnet and Prasa need from the state, including the appropriate levels of financing and recapitalisation.

The difficult economic situation that we are trying to address as a country and the poverty that has trapped millions is not some inescapable phenomenon, but rather something that flows from the logic of the system of capitalism that the ANC government under President Ramaphosa has warmly embraced. Our current economic challenges have everything to do with the Neoliberal policies that have created few billionaires in a sea of poverty. The Federation remains steadfast in its call for the state to take the lead to transform the legacy of underdevelopment by developing an alternative production system that is based on domestic demand and human needs.

Workers demand economic growth that will optimally harness our resources and increase the absorption of the labour force into productive employment and income-generating activities. We continue to call for a politically governed redistribution of wealth and deliberate provision of opportunities from the formal to the non-formal sectors of the economy.

South Africa will not address the deepening poverty, growing inequality, and endemic unemployment through privatisation. The decision to give private corporations tax breaks (34% to 27% in ten years) has failed to yield any results; so, the private sector is not the solution.  We demand a government that is bold enough to intervene on behalf of the poor and push back against the tyranny of the market, not a government whose economic instinct is to hand over everything to the private sector.

COSATU and its affiliated union, SATAWU, are ready to engage with the leadership of the government to ensure that every possible support is given to securing and rebuilding our railway network and our ports. Key security interventions needed include:

·       * Urgent Deployment of the SANDF and the SAPS to secure our railways. 

·       * Revival of a dedicated SAPS Railway Unit. 

·       *A closer collaboration with industries and private security to protect isolated railway lines. 

·       * Strict enforcement of the ban on scrap copper and steal exports and the regulation of scrap dealers. 

·       * Prioritisation by the SAPS, SSA, and NPA of Transnet and Prasa cases.

·      *Involvement of urban and rural communities in protecting rail infrastructure. 

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (COSATU National Spokesperson)

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