Members of Saftu with general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, centre, during the May Day rally in central Durban. Picture: ROGAN WARD/THE TIMES
Members of Saftu with general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, centre, during the May Day rally in central Durban. Picture: ROGAN WARD/THE TIMES

South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called for "real makoya" radical economic transformation".

Vavi was speaking on Monday at a media briefing following the newly formed federation’s first national executive meeting, in Johannesburg.

"A radical socioeconomic transformation will ensure that the people shall share in the country’s economy while addressing the triple crisis of poverty‚ unemployment and inequality‚" he said.

Saftu also called for the nationalisation of banks "especially the South African Reserve Bank".

Addressing the issue of farm killings‚ he said: "We are calling for an end to farm evictions and abuse of farm workers. Affordable housing for all‚ including the option to use pension funds as collateral."

The federation called for illegal miners‚ known as "zama-zamas" to be regulated. "We have seen the appalling news that the death toll in the Welkom mine disaster has risen to 40 and could still rise further‚ and we are still shocked at the low priority that the media has given to such a colossal tragedy‚" said Vavi.

"Don’t blame the victims‚ blame the capitalists who abandoned the mines and seemingly have no plan to close the mines. There is poverty in the country and it takes an extreme level of desperation for one to go there."

The federation committed to rendering a quality service to its members through a "service charter".

The new federation was conceived more than two years ago in the wake of the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA from trade union federation Cosatu.

Vavi also called for decisive action to end violence against women and children.

"Women and children remain the most vulnerable and defenceless members of society," he said. "We keep reading about more and more heart-rending stories of girls and women being assaulted‚ abducted‚ kidnapped‚ raped and murdered."

Vavi coupled his condemnation of violence against women and children with the "worsening socioeconomic crisis".

"Young women are being targeted by the phenomenon of the ‘blessers’ as well as thugs who exploit their vulnerability by selling them as sex slaves‚" said Vavi.

The federation plans to add its voice to campaigns against violence. "Marches and demonstrations to protest this are important‚" said Vavi.

"We will succeed the day we remove all the tenets of colonial‚ apartheid and capitalist exploitation which have destroyed any moral value-based system of a normal society‚" he said.

TMG Digital

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