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We want an active state - Vavi challenges the ruling party

COSATU leader Zwelinzima Vavi says the ANC must move from being an observer in the country's economy and ensure that those who brought the party into power benefit.

"The structure of the economy has not changed. We did not elect the ANC to be a referee state or to be neutral. We want an active state not for everybody but it must be biased to workers," Vavi said.

He said the ANC-led government should move "with lightning speed" to change the apartheid racial structure that still existed.

"Those apartheid coaches still remain, they are still there. Though there is a bit of movement blacks are still in the third class, so-called coloureds and Indians second class and whites first class," he said.

Quoting from statistics he said black people were still the most unemployed and they earned seven times less than whites. Black-owned companies account for only 1,7percent on the JSE.

Launching the federation's economic policy document in Johannesburg yesterday, Vavi said Cosatu was not necessarily calling for nationalisation of the mines and other sectors of the economy, "but there is an urgent need for state intervention".

"We need a state that can have a company that can intervene in strategic minerals, that can help us liberate resources we need for education and help us improve the industrial base of South Africa."

He said Cosatu would mobilise civil society and the alliance to enter into a debate to identify strategic areas where the state could intervene.

"We are calling for discussion on what are those strategic areas where the state must take up full ownership or in partnership with private companies. We are not calling for a blanket nationalisation."

He said the growth path was based on six pillars:

  • redistribution of income,
  • industrial development,
  • meeting basic needs,
  • addressing monopoly domination,
  • environment sustainability and
  • the development of Southern Africa.

 

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