Standoff is looming

It seems it is already gloves off between President Jacob Zuma's government and his biggest ally, Cosatu.

It seems it is already gloves off between President Jacob Zuma's government and his biggest ally, Cosatu.

We suspected it would come to this. Lest we forget, the president sent mixed messages about the economy while on his campaign trail.

But we never thought the battle lines would be this clear a week after the new government came into power.

Yesterday's bid by Cosatu in the North Gauteng high court to block Vodacom's plan to list on the JSE today is a case in point.

The government jumped to the side of business. "We are legally bound by our earlier agreement to support the transaction and that is why we are opposing the application by Cosatu," said Communications Minister Siphiwe Nyanda.

To Cosatu, the government is bowing to big business. Job losses, the union federation argues, are at stake.

To the government, the R22billion Vodafone of Britain is prepared to pay for 15 percent of Telkom shares in Vodacom reads like a welcome investment in the country.

It matters not that Telkom is a state entity, a valuable source of revenue in this gloomy global meltdown.

The Thabo Mbeki regime was Cosatu's number one enemy because of privatisation.

We wonder if we are headed for a similar standoff between the government and labour.

X