Trade union Solidarity on April 20 submitted its Covid-19 recovery plan proposal to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Ministers Ebrahim Patel and Tito Mboweni.
Government is currently working on a plan to ensure the South African economy is able to recover from the fallout of Covid-19 and the measures that should be implemented to help curb the spread of the virus.
This plan served as Solidarity’s input to the meeting of the Cabinet and the command council, which was to be held on April 20.
Solidarity said its proposal offered a comprehensive analysis of past economic crises and how South Africa’s response previously led to stagnation and poor growth.
The union also proposed how to take the right decisions at this critical juncture.
According to Solidarity’s economic recovery plan, South Africa must urgently apply itself to create a more dynamic labour environment. The business world must be liberated from oppressive regulations and trade restrictions, it said.
Further, South Africa’s fiscal position needed to be improved by cutting government spending and by getting rid of all non-essential State-run institutions.
The union suggested that more money be put in South Africans’ pockets by reducing the tax burden. Solidarity stated that it was also non-negotiable that harmful policies – that undermine trust and certainty, such as expropriation without compensation and the national health insurance – be rejected immediately.
Finally, the absolute need to decentralise South Africa’s energy sector is also highlighted in the Solidarity plan.
The union believes concerns over the economy should not be assessed on the basis of a trade-off between health and wealth. Those two aspects are related and interdependent characteristics of human wellbeing, it argued.
“The Covid-19 debate should include the economy and jobs. The virus cannot be combatted without the economy and the economy cannot grow if the virus is not successfully combatted. There should not be a choice between health and economy – the choice is for both.
“In fact, victory over the virus is the most important aspect of any economic stimulus. We need to combat the threat of the virus as soon as possible so that we can get the economy back on track and ensure that the lockdown does not continue for a single day longer than necessary,” Solidary CEO Dirk Hermann said.
Solidarity’s Covid-19 plan stands on three legs. The first leg is undaunted resistance to the virus.
“We are widely encouraging our members to strictly adhere to anti-virus practices. The second is an undaunted drive in favour of work. Solidarity regards all work as essential and believes that everyone who can work in a healthy manner must work. That is why Solidarity has submitted a comprehensive code of good practice for working in a healthy way to government.
“The third is an undaunted commitment to the recovery of the economy. Solidarity presented an economic recovery plan, offering lessons learnt from winning countries in an economic context,” Hermann explained.