THE country’s single biggest trade union‚ the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa)‚ has filed an application for a strike against corruption‚ it announced on Sunday.
The application for the strike will be heard on Monday by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC).
Numsa served a notice on NEDLAC earlier this month in terms of Section 77 of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) indicating the union’s intention to embark on protest action against corruption.
The protest action will involve marches‚ rallies‚ pickets‚ lunch-hour demonstrations‚ strikes and stay-aways from work if no satisfactory resolution is found after NEDLAC has considered the matter‚ the union said.
“Corruption in the private and public sector is pervasive in South Africa. It is a growing cancer that undermines existing jobs and robs working class and ordinary people their socio-economic needs‚” said Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim.
“Resources that go down the corruption tube could be used to deliver basic socio-economic services‚ the provision of adequate housing‚ basic education‚ healthcare services‚ water‚ social welfare and basic nutrition for children. There is just looting all over the place despite the extensive anti-corruption architecture and laws that exist.”
Of more concern to Numsa‚ was the flagrant violation by state-owned enterprises (SoEs) and other state organs of the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) and its regulations that required that state departments in all spheres of government should procure locally-manufactured goods and services when they tender.
“In the last few years we have seen parastatals involved in large scale importation of products‚ leading to widespread devastation of local industries. The economic and political elite uses the parastatals not to industrialise the country but to parasitically accumulate for themselves‚” Jim said.
“Numsa is also irked by what the union sees as creeping corruption denialism where despite the existence of evidence on corrupt practices‚ there is inaction‚ lack of political accountability and a closing of rank amongst the elites. The epitome of corruption denialism is the tragic issue of Nkandla‚” Jim added.
In its application‚ Numsa demands the following:
1. A commission of inquiry that will investigate the impact of corruption on provision of basic services‚ compliance by organs of the state to the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act‚ the contribution of non-compliance to local content provisions of the law on job-losses and an assessment of the effectiveness of the country’s anti-corruption architecture in both the private and public sectors.
2. National Treasury as the department required by Section 9 of Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act to report on compliance by organs of the state in terms of local content requirements of the law.
3. The release of all of the reports into corruption and in particular the 2009 Sicelo Shiceka task team report that investigated and undertook an audit of potential irregularities in municipalities in the North West and that has never been released to the public.
4. The release by the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) of the report that the SARB and the Chief executive officer of the Financial Services Board (FSB) commissioned through the appointment of former Senior deputy-governor of the Reserve Bank James Cross to engage in a process with authorised foreign currency dealers. This has become important given the Competition Commission’s decision to investigate foreign exchange traders following complaints of alleged direct or indirect involvement in fixing prices in relation to bid‚ offers and spreads of certain foreign exchange transactions involving the South African Rand.
5. The South African Revenue Service (SARS)‚ the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) and Finance Intelligence Centre (FIC) to investigate the problem of illicit financial flows and money laundering in the country‚ and take strong steps to deal with the phenomenon.
6. The implementation of recommendations of the Kabuso‚ Pikoli and Manase forensic reports that investigated corruption and maladministration in Nelson Mandela Bay‚ Makana and Ethekwini municipalities.
7. An investigation into corruption and economic crime under “late apartheid” (1980-1990) in particular in relation to sanctions busting. Despite repeated calls from civil society‚ little has been done to address the issue of ‘late apartheid’ corruption. Most recently the Public Protector Thuli Madonsela has initiated investigations into apartheid-era embezzlement by the country’s largest banks. A leaked report (commissioned by the South African government in 1999) identified almost US$2.9bn that could be uncovered from three large corporations (two of which are South Africa) and a further US$3.1bn in questionable payments made in Luxembourg to purchase weapons. Several notable South African corporations have been implicated by the report‚ which also suggests criminal collusion involving individuals within the SARB in the late 1980s.
8. The strengthening of power and resourcing of the Public Protector and Auditor-General’s offices.
Numerous unions had indicated their intention to join Numsa in the application‚ Jim said.