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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Gallo Images / Jeffrey Abrahams
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Gallo Images / Jeffrey Abrahams

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s pursuit of the holy grail of social compact has become embarrassing. The unions are not going to concede any labour rights voluntarily, and employers are not going to commit to investment targets, and certainly not to agree to zero retrenchments, both of which restrict management’s right to run their businesses profitably.

It is farcical that the president holds out promises to do the right things but only conditional on the parties committing to acts that are against their interests, and in any case won’t be kept. This shows weakness and procrastination.

It is the government’s job to govern. Labour law should be reviewed if it obstructs growth, and government policies that encourage investment should be initiated as a first step without conditions. The government is right to consult, but needs no approval from either party to proceed.

Sydney Kaye, Cape Town

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