Monday, July 28, 2008

Cosatu tail wags the dog

Yes, march and demand, that is the modus operandi of this useless Marxist trade union grouping.

What can it possibly achieve other than to scare off investors and raise uneasiness in the markets? We need to rid South Africa from the grip of the Axis of Evil.

We need a government that stops interfering in the free mix of manpower, skills and money and through that confidence will grow and the economy will right itself.

To impose Marxist socialist, affirmative-action, BEE and other unworkable restrictions, the Axis of Evil is adding to the problems, not solving them.

The most successful economies are those where there is the least involvement by governments.

Governments set laws and guidelines but should leave the rest to free market forces.

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While Cosatu must be pleased with the large turnouts at protests against rising prices, the effectiveness of the marching and sloganeering is doubtful.

By making threats against the Cabinet in front of 25 000 cheering supporters, secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi captured the headlines.

While it was needlessly uncouth of him to talk of grabbing Ministers by the genitals, there will be some sympathy with the overall complaints.

All of us are affected by the increasing cost of living. Marching and chanting may help vent some of the pain and anger people feel about these tough times. However, many of the inflation drivers are beyond the control of Cabinet Ministers or indeed anyone to whose groin Vavi believes he has access.

Fuel and food prices are spiking all around the world. No one in our government can dictate what oil will cost on international markets. Similarly many food prices are subject to global pressures which South Africans can do little about.

Listening to some protesters calling for the removal of VAT it is obvious they don’t realise there is already a range of VAT-free foods, and the administrative burden of tinkering with others is unlikely to be cost effective.

The wrath generated by electricity tariff hikes is well founded. The fat cats in government, Eskom and municipalities who pass on the increases have no idea of the suffering they cause.

In the unlikely event of protests driving down Eskom tariffs we shall applaud. Interest rates are another matter. They should never have been pushed up to their current levels.

Yet the Reserve Bank should not be swayed by street-level intimidation. Cosatu has raised expectations but the cost of living won’t come down. What will Vavi do for an encore?

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