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Ramaphosa to address Cosatu’s CEC meeting, Eskom bailout likely to feature

The president will be addressing the labour federation just days ahead of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s presentation of the 2020/2021 budget in Parliament on Wednesday.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the occasion of the presentation of credentials by Heads of Mission accredited to SA in Pretoria on 28 January 2020. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s central executive committee (CEC) meeting on Monday afternoon on several issues that could include the federation’s proposal to bail out Eskom.

While it was not unusual for the president of the African National Congress (ANC) to speak at the meeting, Ramaphosa will be doing so just days ahead of Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s presentation of the 2020/2021 Budget in Parliament on Wednesday.

Mboweni is expected to announce grand reforms which may deepen tensions between Cosatu and the ANC as government attempts to urgently address the failing economy.

There was consensus among leading economists in the country that the public service wage bill should be slashed, while trade unions were appealing for more discussion with government to find an alternative solution.

Ramaphosa will undoubtedly face questions from Cosatu on this very issue.

Last week, Cosatu affiliated public service unions said that while discussions could be held about workers possibly foregoing wage increase demands this year in the interest of the economy, the higher cost of living would make this option near impossible.

The labour federation also tabled a proposal to use government pension funds and development bank financing to slice Eskom’s debt in half.

While the suggestion secured the nod from some quarters, including the president, the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) said it would intervene if Eskom’s business case failed to meet its investment regulations.

The matter's expected to be discussed when Ramaphosa attends the CEC meeting.

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