Cosatu: Gigaba must detail plan to fight state resource looting

It’s a big test for Finance Minister Gigaba, who is caught in the cross-hairs of a poorly performing economy, a massive shortfall in revenue, rising government debt and big spending pressures.

FILE: Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it wants to hear Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba spell out how the government intends to stop the looting and corruption at state-owned enterprises when he delivers his first major budget speech today.

Gigaba will unveil his medium term budget policy statement in parliament at 2pm.

It’s a big test for Gigaba, who is caught in the cross-hairs of a poorly performing economy, a massive shortfall in revenue, rising government debt and big spending pressures.

Minister Gigaba is unlikely to heed opposition calls to freeze government employees’ salaries, especially ahead of the 2019 elections.

But while public sector unions are calling for double digit wage hikes, the state’s threadbare coffers make this just as unlikely.

But Cosatu’s real beef is with the rampant corruption at state-owned enterprises like Eskom and Transnet revealed in the Gupta emails and what Gigaba intends doing about it.

Spokesperson Matthew Parks says: “The critical issue is how they’re going to deal with the ballooning levels of corruption and looting at a national level.

“It’s pointless of ministers to plead poverty on behalf of government, when the very Cabinet is looting left and right.”

With unemployment at peak levels, Parks says that Cosatu is losing patience with the governments’ inability to kick-start the economy and create jobs.