SPEAKING at Numsa's 2003 NBC, Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of Cosatu said he was becoming less and less optimistic about the forthcoming Growth and Development Summit (GDS).
Quoting rising statistics on unemployment, high food prices and economic inequalities that make South Africa the third worst country after Brazil and Venezuela, Vavi told delegates that our "freedom was one-sided only – we have achieved political freedom but not economic freedom".
On the Growth and Development Summit, Vavi said he was tired of the approach and sentiment that classified the South African economy as "fundamentally perfect and correct". "If our economic policies are so perfect, then why do we need a Growth and Development Summit? If our policies are so correct, then why the deepening levels of poverty? Why rising levels of unemployment?" asked Vavi.
Failure of the alliance partners to come up with a common strategy before the GDS placed organised labour and Cosatu in particular in a very awkward situation leading to a sense of despair on the part of the giant federation.
Vavi went on to congratulate Numsa on its 15th year anniversary and said he believed that the metalworkers federation still had the clout and organisational strength to take the workers' struggle forward.