Cosatu takes fight to Eskom

Eric Naki

The Congress of SA Trade Unions has warned of serious consequences if jobs are lost because of Eskom's proposed 53percent electricity tariff increase.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said that if jobs were lost, all government officials responsible for the energy crisis must also lose their jobs.

"It can't be right to allow government officials to remain in their positions when it is because of their negligence that workers might be left without jobs," said Vavi.

He was speaking at the 15th anniversary of the death of SACP general secretary and ANC leader Chris Hani at South Park Cemetery in Boksburg yesterday.

Others at the function were Hani's widow Limpho and his daughter Lindiwe, Ekurhuleni executive mayor Duma Nkosi. The tripartite alliance was represented by Vavi, SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and businessman and ANC NEC member Tokyo Sexwale.

Vavi said Hani would have been appalled by the culture of corruption and self-enrichment, a philosophy of "me first and the devil take the poor".

He said Cosatu would mobilise its members and civil society to protest against the increases in food prices and other commodities that were devastating the lives of the poor and jeopardising the economy.

"When we take to the streets, we will demand that workers will not pay for a crisis that is not of their making. No jobs must be lost," said Vavi.

Nzimande said the SACP would support Cosatu's mass action. On May 7 the party would picket private hospitals that refused to accept patients without medical aids.

Sexwale said capitalism did not solve people's problems because it was greedy.

"I know because I operate in these boardrooms. People become rich because of the efforts and high prices paid by the poor," said Sexwale.