EFF: ANC steamrolled Pension Reform. Cosatu’s crocodile tears.

The new tax legislation signed in by President Jacob Zuma has stirred trade union Cosatu as well as the Economic Freedom Fighters. Matthew Lester is in favour of the move while Cosatu has used the opportunity to vilify the ruling party. The EFF has come out lambasting Cosatu, saying the trade union aided the ANC in steamrolling the legislation in Parliament, yet now question the decision. Claiming the union is merely staging a front in order to deceive workers. The EFF seizes any opportunity to build support and this is politicking at its best, saying “reforms are merely the ANC’s way in protecting the white monopoly capital.” – Stuart Lowman

Economic Freedom Fighters media release

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) notes the signed tax legislations from 2015 into law by Mr. Zuma that have implication on number of sectors including estate duty, insurance companies and pension reforms. The EFF further notes Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) tantrums, pretending to be the voice of workers. Cosatu’s opportunism is disgraceful and a clear indication that the current Federation’s leadership, is not only backward-looking but is also out of touch with reality concerning worker’s hardships on the ground.

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Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema

The ANC, with the Cosatu’s support, have steamrolled legislations in Parliament and supported government policies that have achieved nothing but protect white monopoly capital against worker’s interest. The South African Communist Party (SACP) is in Parliament and Cabinet, and never said anything about the legislation that was steamrolled in parliament. What is worse is that, the Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Finance that was responsible for steamrolling the signed tax legislation, is SACP politburo member Yunis Carrim who hunts with the hounds and now pretends to be running with the hares. Despite overwhelming plea by various stakeholders for further engagement on the Tax Administration Bills, in particular aspects concerning pension fund reform, the ANC together with its alliance preceded to push the legislation through the Parliament using its majority.

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The EFF was the only political party in Parliament that opposed the pension fund reforms, both in the first and second reading debate. Parliament records will show that, the EFF warned that the legislation would have dreadful and far-reaching consequences, and the way ANC together with its alliance treated this piece of legislation was never in the interest of workers. Notwithstanding that many people with formal employment do not earn enough to contribute towards retirement, but those who contribute towards pension are highly indebted and majority cannot afford food, housing or education for their children. What the new legislation will do is nothing but subject workers to a retirement of permanent poverty and payments of debts.

The time has come for workers to realise that Cosatu has long abandoned worker’s interest in exchange for spoils of union owned-investment companies, senior positions within the ANC government and government tenders.

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The EFF further calls for the legislation to be rescinded with immediate effect and workers, majority of whom are not unionised, presented with an opportunity to make representations to parliament on why the legislation should not be made law in its current form. Workers should be given the right and choice of how they want to use their pensions and not micro managed by the State in a manner that suggest that they cannot think and plan for themselves and their future.

Finally, we call on all workers to discontinue their membership with Cosatu’s affiliated unions with immediate effect and associate with Unions that will truly represent their interests. COSATU’s tantrums are not genuine, they are crocodile tears meant to deceive workers.