Sunday, February 21, 2010

Communists & Libertarians Agree

As reported in the Mail & Guardian, Cosatu feels that its support for Zuma through his trials and tribulations is not being adequately rewarded. It seems especially miffed with the proposals for a two-tier labour market.

This is the passage from the article that I found particularly interesting:

'South African Communist Party deputy general secretary and Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin confirmed that the new budget proposals were also not discussed with the SACP, but said the SACP would “give the proposals [on job creation] a chance”.

“We shouldn’t be protecting a small pocket of workers at the cost of a much larger group.”

He said the labour market is multitiered anyway because of the massive number of casualised workers and the small pocket of workers with decent jobs. “We have to be bold about getting people into work.”'

Jeremy Cronin is more or less on the same page as the Free Market Foundation's Eustace Davie. Davie also proposes a two-tier labour market, in the form of special exemption certificates. An extract from his article:

'Has the time not come to restore dignity to the unemployed? To give them the power to decide for themselves whether or not to work at jobs others might not regard as “decent” or to continue living with misery and starvation?'

Compare the above with the words of Jimmy Manyi: "The big drive for the department of labour is to focus on decent work". Considering SA's unemployment rate, one would think that the department's primary concern is purely the number of jobs.

I have a new-found respect for Cronin. His comments here and his stance on mine nationalization indicate his intellectual honesty and bravery. It appears he is prepared to break with doctrine when confronted with evidence and logic.


  1. Nice piece J. If one looks at data of average wages of unionised workers versus average wages of non-unionised workers, one can see a huge premium for being part of a union.

    Cosatu loves to say that it "fights for the interests of the unemployed" when really it fights for the interests of its own workers at the expense of jobs for the unemployed.

    Until the SA Government stands up to powerful unions, like the teachers' union, SA won't see a significant change in unemployment. This is a tragedy.

  2. Thanks G. It's more like a tragicomedy.

    BTW, that Frans Cronje wrote a very insightful article about the political machinations between COSATU and Zuma:

    The whole situation highlights again the dangers of playing personality politics:

    Finally, another example of Cronin's clear thinking: