ANC allies’ opposition to NDP won’t stop implementation: Zuma
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 10:49
Natasha Marrian reports that President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday that opposition to the National Development Plan (NDP) by the ANC’s labour allies Cosatu and its largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), would not stop the government from implementing it. He was delivering a 20-year review of progress and challenges in SA. When asked about continued opposition to the plan by the ANC’s allies, Zuma indicated that differences over policy were not unusual and that the government welcomed debate. Numsa’s decision in December to sever ties with the ANC was partly informed by the ruling party’s endorsement of the NDP at its Mangaung elective conference in 2012. The 20-year review was informed by similar reviews conducted after 10 and 15 years of democracy and comes just two months before SA’s May general elections. The ANC has emphasised in its election campaign that the country has a "good story to tell" in terms of its developments over the past two decades. Zuma repeated that on average the economy had grown at 3.2% a year from 1994 to 2012, but admitted that this was "modest" compared with other emerging economies.
Numsa likely to vote for double digit wage increases at steel and engineering firms
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 10:17
SABC News reports that members of the National Union of Metalworkers (NUM) are likely to vote for wage demands that are double the current inflation rate when they conclude a collective bargaining conference in Pretoria on Wednesday. Wage negotiations in the metals and engineering sectors are due to commence later this month under the auspices of the Metal and Engineering Industries Bargaining Council (MEIBC). On Tuesday, delegates held intense discussions in commissions trying to consolidate ‘wish lists’ from various regions across the country. Numsa represents 220,000 members in the sectors and says the members on the ground want no less than a double digit increase. Numsa claims that the erosion of workers' buying power is much higher than that of inflation. Head of Collective Bargaining, Steve Nhlapho, said: "It's clear that our members will go for a double digit because a single digit increase will not assist them. It's worse that they've not been getting an increase for the last three years when things have increased. Your petrol has gone up by 30 percent over the last three years, there's e-tolls that have come in and those things impact directly on our members." Cosatu's suspended General Secretary will address the conference today.
Boitumelo Tshehle reports that the spate of strikes on the platinum mining belt have had a negative effect on North West province’s economic growth in the past financial year. This was revealed by MEC for finance Paul Sebegoe during his provincial budget speech in Mahikeng on Tuesday. “An array of factors contributed to this negative growth, among which, [was] labour unrest in the mining sector, the backbone of the North West economy,” he indicated. Sebegoe went on the say that the North West economy, though having grown by 2% on average over the past 20 years, has not performed satisfactorily in recent times. The province had registered a negative 0.6%, a rate much lower than the National Development Plan (NDP) envisaged growth rate of 5%. Yet, there were some positives, despite the negative growth. Unemployment declined from 27.1% in the second quarter of 2013 to 26.5% in the third quarter, while tourism increased.
Read this report on page 15 of Sowetan of 12 March 2013
Dineo Faku reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) yesterday blamed Chamber of Mines chief negotiator Elize Strydom for sabotaging talks led by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) aimed at ending the seven-week wage strike at three platinum producers. Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said the union had objected to Strydom’s participation in the first place. “It is due to her negative influence that we have not settled. Mining companies were prepared to submit a revised offer, but she convinced them to revert back to their original position because of the gold mine settlement with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM),” Mathunjwa stated. The Chamber reached a two-year deal in the gold sector last year, settling on an 8% increase with NUM, Solidarity and Uasa. The CCMA was furious on Monday after Strydom told the Sunday Times that CCMA negotiators had little or no knowledge of mining and no economic acumen, and blamed them for the talks being bungled. The CCMA suspended the platinum talks indefinitely last week, saying the parties were too far apart. Amcu members have been on strike since 23 January at Lonmin, Impala Platinum and Anglo American Platinum.