As the State of the Nation Address looms, South Africa‘s president Jacob Zuma will be aiming to boost investor confidence in the country and ease fears about labour law amendments.
Confidence in South Africa has taken a knock recently due to the ongoing five-month long wage strike in the platinum sector and recent credit downgrades amid load-shedding by Eskom, the country’s power utility.
“His speech is likely to be aimed sharply at the investor community,” said Mzukisi Qobo, a politics lecturer at the University of Pretoria. “He would want to give them a sense that the government has a grasp of the kind of challenges facing the economy and is committed to doing something about them.”
Zuma focus during his state-of-the-nation address at 7 pm local time is likely to be to reassure the nation that he would stop any moves to “amend the labour laws” to allow the government to ban protected strikes, “which would be unconstitutional, a breach of ILO (International Labour Organisation) international conventions which his government has signed and totally impractical.”
Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi, who pulled out of talks to bring about an end to the Amcu strike, has complained that the country’s labour laws did not make provisions for “deadlock-breaking mechanisms.”
“The ANC and the government must remain biased in favour of the workers and the poor and forge ahead with the national democratic revolution and the transformation of our economy, in line with the Freedom Charter,” said Cosatu national spokesperson Patrick Craven.
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