DEPUTY President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the tripartite alliance – which comprises of the African National Congress, Cosatu, SANCO and the South African Communist Party – to be united in order to deal with different crises facing the country.
Ramaphosa was speaking during a workers’ day celebration organized by Cosatu in Hectorspruit, Mpumalanga on Monday.
“The ANC, SACP, SANCO and Cosatu have achieved a number of things by working together,” Ramaphosa said.
The ANC second in command reminded his audience that the government and the unions have reached an agreement that a minimum wage in the country would be R3 500, which means that no worker should rate less than R20 per hour.
He, however, reiterated that the law would only be implemented from May 1, 2018.
A number of workers from Umbhaba farm, which is situated a few kilometers away from the venue where Ramaphosa was addressing the workers, told him that their employers were threatening to fire them if they dared join a union.
Ramaphosa encouraged them to join the unions as it was their democratic right to do so. “I am aware about this problem; I believe that Cosatu will assist you in order to solve it. As you can see that today I am wearing Cosatu’s T-Shirt, it shows that I trust them,” Ramaphosa said.
Ramaphosa was initially billed to attend the main May Day rally in Bloemfontein, Free State.
However, he was redeployed to Mpumalanga after a row erupted within Cosatu with two affiliates – health sector union Nehawu and the Communications Workers Union – unsuccessfully trying to force Cosatu to revoking an earlier decision to invite President Jacob Zuma to deliver a keynote address.
Citing a Cosatu resolution that President Zuma must step down as the country’s president, they demanded that Ramaphosa address the workers instead.
The two unions argued that inviting Zuma would send conflicting messages because of a standing resolution against his leadership.
However, Cosatu’s top brass led by the federation’s president S’dumo Dlamini refused to budge.