Cosatu glad over Patel role

COSATU has hailed as a major victory the recent announcement that Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel would coordinate economic policy in the government.

The announcement that Patel would be in charge of a number of regulatory bodies and key financial institutions marks a Cosatu victory in the ongoing struggle for the control of President Jacob Zuma's government.

The minister, who is also a former member of Cosatu's national executive committee, has taken over some of the powers of the finance and the trade and industry ministries, putting Patel in charge of coordinating macro- and micro-economic policy in government.

When he tabled his strategic plan to Parliament, Patel said he had powers to identify "policy options available to the country" and measure them "against development and decent work goals".

This means Patel would be in charge of the Industrial Development Corporation, which has a budget of more than R80billion, Khula Enterprise Finance, the SA Micro-finance Apex Fund, the Competition Commission and the Competition Tribunal, and the International Trade Administration Commission.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said they had always known that Patel would be in charge of key institutions in government.