COSATU statement on the latest GDP growth figures

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) notes the latest Gross Domestic Productivity (GDP) figures showing the economy grew by 0.6% in the last quarter building upon the previous quarter’s 0.4% return to growth after the previous contractions.  Given the dire conditions millions of workers and the economy have been facing, any economic growth and avoiding a return to a recession is welcome news.  This is more so with the rampant levels of load-shedding, cable thefts, and the myriad of other crises restricting and suffocating the economy.

However, we cannot celebrate a 0.6% GDP growth as this is not enough to make a dent in the seemingly intractable and deep socio-economic problems facing the country, especially the dangerously high unemployment rate of 42.1%.  The government and the leadership of the business sector need to redouble all possible efforts to ensure that the economy does not stumble along from one crisis to another but ensures that it begins to grow to meet the long-sought-after 4% GDP growth rate needed if we are to actually slash the unemployment, poverty, and inequality.

Eskom must be given more support to enable it to end the interminable load-shedding. Transnet and PRASA require immediate interventions if we are to secure and rebuild our railway network and modernise our ports.  Local government needs drastic overhauling if its freefall is to be halted and basic services restored.  Government and businesses must speed up investments in infrastructure and jobs-rich economic sectors.

The government needs cushion the poor and increase the SRD Grant to the food poverty line and reduce the taxes on record-high petrol prices to ease the burden of rising inflation as well as ramp up the Presidential Employment Programme to accommodate at least two (2) million active participants and help young people enter the labour market.

It is clear for all to see that we cannot continue with the business-as-usual mentality.  We need government and businesses to treat this as the national disaster it is. We reiterate our calls for an activist government and a democratic developmental state that is capable of intervening effectively to transform economic relations. 

Issued by COSATU

Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687