THE Federation of Unions of South African (Fedusa) has listed six issues they expect President Cyril Ramaphosa to focus on in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday, 9 February.
On top of the list is load shedding, which the union said compromised South Africans’ quality of life while causing irreversible damage to the economy and the country’s labour market.
Fedusa spokeswoman Betty Moleya said they want the president to make pronouncements on the procurement and regulatory challenges holding up Eskom’s ability to fix existing power stations and to bring new capacity online.
“The power utility has been on its knees for years, with recent updates by task teams and committees responsible for resolving the crisis indicating that the electricity generation capacity of the entity will not improve anytime soon,” she said.
She said they also expect an announcement on the suggested declaration of a national state of disaster to ease procurement requirements and other regulatory matters that may be hampering the entity’s management from carrying out its duties efficiently.
Moleya said Ramaphosa came into office on the back of many promises, including the creation of millions of jobs but his undertaking failed as millions of South Africans were unemployed.
She said the country was on edge with 43% of the labour force unemployed.
She said there should be focus on local governments as the municipalities have collapsed.
“Its finances are in shambles and have been for a long time. As a result, not even water provision, that is a basic human right, can be guaranteed. Municipalities have become a feeding ground for corruption, with the auditor general reminding us yearly that officials are not qualified to carry out their duties as a result undermine the functions of municipalities as prescribed in the constitution.” she said.
She said Ramaphosa must share with the nation a detailed plan of how this problem will be resolved.
On gender-based violence, Fedusa it has noted the government’s continued avoidance to implement the resolutions made in the first and second gender summit.
Moleya said a gender council as agreed to was yet to be established.
“Shelters meant to help abused women, children and others remain in unliveable condition. On the workplace front, Fedusa wants the president to take charge of the processes meant to implement and domesticate the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 190 and Recommendation 206 that seeks to address violence and harassment in the world of work.”
Fedusa said it hoped Ramaphosa will make an announcement on the extension and increase of the R350 grant.
The union said crime appears to be spiralling out of control, with reports indicating that South Africa could soon become a mass murder capital like Colombia.
“This is a terrifying prospect. We need the president to address the public’s concerns over violent crime and what intervention he and his cabinet will implement to address this. The spate of killings and the high crime levels have a devastating impact on many aspects of the South African society including the economy and personal freedom,” said Moleya.