POLITICAL WEEK AHEAD: Ramaphosa promised a kind Workers’ Day rally reception
As workers across the country prepare to commemorate International Workers’ Day on Tuesday, all eyes will be on President Cyril Ramaphosa to address some of the most contentious issues at play in the labour market.
The president is expected to deliver the key address at Cosatu’s main Workers’ Day rally in Uitenhage, Eastern Cape on Tuesday, exactly a year after former president Jacob Zuma was humiliated by workers who prevented him from addressing a similar gathering in Bloemfontein.
The rally will also activate the ANC’s campaign in Nelson Mandela Bay, where it hopes to reclaim the electorate’s support for the party in the build-up to the 2019 elections.
Despite the criticism expressed by the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) through mass protests last week, the ANC and Cosatu have given assurances the rally will not face similar disruptions.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane will be marking the day with farm workers in Wellington, Western Cape, where the party says it will be celebrating its successful projects, including farm equity share schemes.
On Wednesday, the National Assembly will hold a Workers’ Day debate, titled "Celebrating 100 years of Nelson Mandela — restoration of workers’ right to dignity through the national minimum wage". After opposition political parties came out in support of Saftu’s demand for a higher national minimum wage that would be able to provide workers with a living wage, speakers from the EFF and the United Democratic Movement are among those expected to raise objections to some of the provisions included in the draft legislation.
Also on Wednesday the standing committee on public accounts (Scopa) will hold hearings on the contracts of Forensic Data Analysts (FDA) and other companies with the South African Police Service (SAPS) that have come under scrutiny by members of the committee.
FDA recently threatened to suspend the critical information technology and other systems it provides to the SAPS and State Information Technology Agency over a failure to honour their payment obligations.
This followed a decision made by Scopa in March ordering the SAPS management to resolve issues around the multimillion-rand "suspect contracts" with FDA as a result of warnings by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate about irregularities regarding the contracts.
A joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday will honour the late Winnie Madikizela-Mandela and the late former social development minister Zola Skweyiya.