cosatu dares ZUMA

COSATU wants President Jacob Zuma to audit the lifestyles of all Cabinet ministers and directors-general to find out exactly how they pay for their lavish lifestyles.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says Zuma must use tomorrow's State of the Nation Address to announce a "lifestyle audit", and to put an end to bling politicians once and for all.

"It would be very interesting to establish how some officials could afford more than one mansion, holiday homes and expensive holidays. We call on all ministers and senior public servants to submit to this audit as part of their commitment to transparency and clean governance," Vavi said yesterday.

He also wants government to enact a law to force politicians and government officials to choose whether they are servants of the public or in business to make profits.

"They cannot be both at the same time. The spread of the capitalist culture of greed is threatening to undermine all the progress we have made since comrade Madiba walked to freedom 20 years ago," Vavi said.

"It is not good enough for ministers and public officials to hide behind the argument that they have 'declared an interest' in the companies they and their families own. Even if these companies are not benefiting directly from government tenders, the fact that they are in business creates a conflict of interest."

Cosatu also wants Zuma to explain exactly why he failed to create the 500000 jobs he promised in the State of the Nation Address he made last year.

"Government's commitment to create 500000 job opportunities did not materialise," said Vavi.

"We expect the President to outline reasons for this failure and explain how this will be reversed."

The Black Sash, meanwhile, said Zuma must set up a new council on poverty. Black Sash advocacy manager Phelisa Nkomo said yesterday that the idea has already been endorsed by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

They also want Zuma to set up a fund with the penalty fees paid by companies guilty of price-fixing - and use the fund to start food projects in poor communities.

DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip said Zuma must use his State of the Nation speech to explain how he plans to create four million jobs by 2014, when he could not even create 500000 last year.

They also want Zuma to privatise all the parastatals.