Finance minister Tito Mboweni must be a hope to the masses, in particular, the working class and the poor. His recent reckless statement on Eskom’s looming retrenchment of 30,000 workers has left a bitter taste in the mouths of the working class. In his address at the jobs summit two weeks ago, President Cyril Ramaphosa acknowledged that unemployment is the greatest challenge facing the country at this moment in its history. He reiterated that unemployment diminishes the country’s ability to eradicate poverty, tackle inequality and improve the lives of the working class and the poor. The president proposed that to avoid retrenchments there should be agreement between the social partners (the government, business and labour) that all possible alternatives and opportunities be explored before retrenchment is considered, including executive salary sacrifices and the foregoing of dividends. Labour’s warning to Mboweni is that cutting down the size of the public service may prove risky f...

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