After years of high levels of industrial action and work days lost due to strikes and protest action, 2013 kicks off on a similar note, with COSATU having brought a section 77 application on 11 December 2012. The action is aimed at addressing “the Slow Pace of Socioeconomic Transformation in South Africa”.
The 11th COSATU congress took a resolution that the federation must embark on a socioeconomic protest to demand a radical transformation of the economy with the idea of benefitting the majority of South Africans.
A strong pillar of this application is the Freedom Charter.
Reasons listed for the action include:
• The Unemployment Crisis
• The Poverty Crisis
• The Income Inequality Crisis
• Labour Market Performance
• Ownership and Control of the South African Economy: Inequality in Economic Power
• The Land Question
• Macroeconomic Policy
• Access to Quality Education
• Access to Quality Healthcare
After listing and expanding on their reasons, COSATU set out a list of demands. We will set out the demands below.
On Strategic Nationalisation
COSATU proposes the following sectors for strategic nationalisation:
1. banking
2. petrochemicals
3. forestry
4. cement
5. metals fabrication (especially steel)
6. construction (to address infrastructure backlogs)
7. pharmaceuticals
8. machinery and equipment
9. telecommunications
10. mining
On Macroeconomic Policy
Several suggestions made ranging from taxes to interest rates
On Land Reform
COSATU calls for state ownership of all the land in this country. Their reasoning for this is that in their view this will empower the democratic state to break the power of white capital, strengthen the capacity of the state to regulate land use and to abolish speculation. Once the state owns the land, according to the application, it can then decide on a lease basis as to who should use it and for what purposes. Land should be the heritage of all South Africans, owned by the democratic state and shared in use, not in ownership, among those who work it.
Concerning statements made include the phrase “Use expropriation powers more aggressively” and also a call for the abolishment of foreign ownership of land – this last statement smacks of xenophobia.
On the Labour Market
Despite the lengthy negotiations and the Bills’ contents, COSATU repeats its call for a ban of labour brokers.
Other demands under this heading include:
• Enforcement of an upper limit of a 40-hour work week across the board
• Taxation of firms that pay below the statutory minimum wage, and the distribution of such tax proceeds back to the workers concerned
• Tax reform to target executive pay and to set targets to close the “apartheid wage gap”
• The Department of Labour must set targets and timeframes to extend maternity leave and all other leave benefits to all workers
• Extend social protection and ensure that there is an income floor below which no South African worker or household should fall
• Set targets for the reduction of “low-wage” employment, through the introduction of solidarity measures in wage formation. This should be an integral part of realising COSATU’s demand that the income gap between the highest paid and the lowest paid should be 16:1.
• Link skills development and training with career-pathing as part of the employment equity
A number of demands are also made in regard to the following points:
Employment Creation, Education and Health.

The protest action warning
If there is no firm commitment in addressing above demands, COSATU indicates that they will have no option but to mobilise its members for a protest action which will take the form of marches, demonstrations, pickets and stay-aways.
A copy of the application will be posted on our website as soon as the action has been dealt with by NEDLAC.
Please be advised that steps will depend on a determination by the s77 Standing Committee whether or not the application complies. The committee will be meeting this week and again with COSATU next week.
Global Business Solutions will keep you posted
We will keep you posted on further developments. If you have any questions or require any information, please feel free to contact Grant on 082 570 8595 or [email protected] . Johnny is taking a well-deserved break and will be back in action on 21 January.
Regards and here’s to a successful 2013 to all our clients.
Johnny and Grant