COMESA Renews Mining Deal with Western Australia

COMESA Secretariat and the Government of Western Australia have renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mining for a six years period. The two parties signed the MoU at a ceremony in South Africa on the side-lines of the Mining Indaba Conference earlier this month in Cape Town.
Honourable Bill Joseph Johnston, Minister of Mines and Petroleum, signed on behalf of the Government of Western Australia while Mr. Sindiso Ngwenya signed for COMESA.
The MoU is expected to bolster support of the mining sector in the COMESA region. The pact provides a framework for cooperation between COMESA Member States and the Government of Western Australia in mineral and petroleum resources, agriculture, vocational training and capacity building.

The COMESA Industrial Policy and Strategy identifies Mining as a the key priority sectors with the highest potential for minerals that can be harnessed for economic transformation in the region. Zimbabwe, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo dominates the mining industry in the COMESA region.

The MoU covers the following areas of: information sharing on the development and administration of mining and petroleum policies, legal and regulatory frameworks in COMESA Member States (particularly in the areas of development of title management systems) special agreements, ownership of minerals, administration of royalty regimes, community development agreements and regulation of safety and environmental performance.

Other areas are training and human resources development in geosciences and the regulation of minerals and petroleum sectors; encouragement of exchange of faculty, researchers and graduate students at the tertiary level and promotion strategies for investment in minerals and petroleum and the development of linkages including integrating artisanal and small-scale mining into the major value chains.

COMESA signed the first MoU with the Government of Western Australia on 31st January 2014 in Lusaka, Zambia. Since then, COMESA Member States and the Secretariat participates in the annual mining conference in Australia (Africa Down Under) and the Indaba. The events unite investors, mining companies, governments and other stakeholders from around the world to learn and network, all towards the single goal of advancing mining on the continent. The Mining Indaba, is also dedicated to supporting education, career development, sustainable development, and other important causes in Africa`s mining sector.

At the Indaba, the COMESA delegation networked with key stakeholders in the mining industry, including private sector and development partners among others. It was also an opportunity to promote COMESA’s brand and attract private sector investment in mining.
Other members of the COMESA team were the Director of Industry and Agriculture Mr. Thierry Mutombo, the Director of Legal and Institutional Affairs Mr. Brian Chigawa and Senior Private Sector Development Officer Mr. Innocent Makwiramiti.

COMESA

More Countries Submit Lists of their Potential Hydro Power Plants

Three more COMESA countries have submitted to the Secretariat their lists of potential small hydro power projects that need development. This brings the number of countries that have submitted to nine.
The lists will be sent to potential developers and cooperating partners to be considered for financing and eventual implementation. With the latest submissions, Burundi, Comoros and the Democratic Republic of Congo now joins Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Sudan and Zambia in the list.
“This is significate progress because the number of countries that have submitted has increased and we expect more to do so as soon as possible,”Chief Executive Officer of the Regional Association of Energy Regulators for Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA) Dr Mohamedain Seif Elnasr said. The COMESA region has prioritized the development of energy infrastructure for power generation, transmission and distribution as one way of boosting energy security and enhancing the bloc’s competitiveness.
In 2017, the COMESA Secretariat requested member States to compile and submit the lists of projects that could contribute to existing power supply. However, by October 2017, less than half of the countries had done so. This prompted COMESA Ministers of Infrastructure to give a deadline of November for the remaining countries to submit the lists. Currently, there are several power generation projects under development and construction in the different COMESA Member States with a potential of 27,821 megawatts.The total installed power generation capacity in the region is at 65,791 megawatts representing a 36% increase from the estimates of 48,352 in 2012.

Former President Jacob Zuma

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE WELCOMES THE RECALL OF PRESIDENT ZUMA

The ANC Veterans League unequivocally supports the ANC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) decision to recall President Zuma. This was not an easy decision taken by the ANC NEC.
Talks between the ANC top six who were sent by the ANC National Working Committee started in earnest early January this year.
The top six was mandated by ANC National Working Committee to request the president of the Republic, Jacob Zuma, to resign voluntarily as he faced a vote of no confidence and or a possible impeachment from Members of Parliament. The president of the Republic was informed that ANC members in parliament this time around were going to vote with the opposition. Secondly, if the impeachment process kicked in and it succeeded in parliament, he stood to lose all his ‘hard earned’ benefits.
The President seemed not to be at all concerned as he still believed that Members of Parliament would still defend him as they did over the pas four years. He told the officials that it is only the NEC that can recall him. The NEC met over the weekend and rejected his proposal that he should be given extra three months for him to attend AU meetings and the BRICS Sessions slated to take place in South Africa. The NEC would have none of this.
To this end, the Veterans League supports the NEC decision to recall the President as he faces a number of alleged criminal charges. Some are directly linked to alleged corruption at the State Owned companies. With the State Capture inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo, the President of the Republic Jacob Zuma may be called as a witness during the inquiry. With the coming elections in 2019 and the ANC currently enjoying a revival and renewal mood from the masses, the markets being positive, his mere appearance at the Commission of inquiry would dampen the recovery and renewal mood of society on our glorious organization and we are likely lose the 2019 elections.

Leaders come and go and society remains. All this is in the interest of the country.
As the ANC Veterans League, we support the new developments, with President Jacob Zuma agreeing to the recall and resigning forthwith.

We also welcome the election of Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa as the president of the country.
We support the ANC leadership in their fight against State Capture and corruption at State Owned Enterprises, their efforts at restoring the dignity and credibility of public institutions and enforcement agencies.
As ANC Veterans we will work tirelessly to restore the integrity and dignity of our glorious movement. We shall bring the ANC closer to the people, build our veterans branches as vibrant, dynamic units that take up the most pressing social and economic challenges in our communities.

By Snuki Zikalala
President of the ANC Veterans League

Thabo Mbekis Foundation

STATEMENT OF THE THABO MBEKI FOUNDATION ON THE RECALL OF PRESIDENT ZUMA BY THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE ANC AS A DEPLOYEE OF THE ANC

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation welcomes the recall of President Jacob Zuma. For a long time now, many in our country have called for the removal of Mr Jacob Zuma as President of the Republic.

This was because- amongst others- he faces the possibility of prosecution for alleged criminal offences and is directly associated with negative developments such as the alleged corruption of various state bodies i.e. State-Owned Enterprises, the National Prosecuting Authority, State Capture and serious economic mismanagement. It has been obvious for many years that the interests of our country would be best served if indeed Mr Zuma ceased to be President of the Republic.

We therefore welcome the decision announced today by the National Executive Committee of the governing party, the ANC, to recall Mr. Zuma as a deployee of the ANC in his capacity as President of the Republic. As a disciplined and loyal cadre of the ANC and out of respect for the constitution of the country, Mr. Zuma must communicate with the speaker of the House of Assembly to tender his resignation as the President of the Republic.

This long overdue resolution by the NEC of the African National Congress gives the possibility for the ANC as the governing party to urgently and immediately attend to the many challenges and negative developments which have arisen during the years of the Presidency of Mr Zuma.

Christine Lagarde

Spending Reform for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Arab Countries

By Christine Lagarde, Managing Director
Dubai, February 10, 2018

As Prepared for Delivery

Good morning—Sabah Al-Khair! Ministers and Governors—it is a great pleasure for me to speak to you today.

This is my third Fiscal Forum. I would like to welcome all of you and especially those new amongst us. I can promise that you will come away enriched by the dialogue.

We co-organized with the Arab Monetary Fund, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development and the government of Morocco a major conference in Marrakesh, which focused on promoting growth, jobs, and inclusiveness in the Arab World—how to create an economy that includes all, works for all, and provides opportunities for all.  Many of you were there and we all deliberated the challenges and opportunities presented by the region.

The reform agenda that you face is broad, but fiscal policy is a foundation. Expenditure policy in particular has an indispensable role in supporting and seeding the sustainable and inclusive growth we all desire.

With this in mind, let me give you a brief overview of the regional economic context before I single out some of the key expenditure challenges facing the region, and try to offer some suggestions on a reform path forward.

The Economic Context

First: the context. As you all know, the global economic recovery has strengthened and growth at a pace of 3.9 percent in 2018 and 2019 is back on, with 75 percent of the world economy sharing in the upturn. Yet this tide is not lifting this region enough.

Of course, there are differences among countries. For oil exporters, oil prices have rebounded to half-way between their lows and their highs from a few years ago, which is still putting significant pressure on fiscal balances and it calls for a different economic model.

The story is a little different for the oil importers. Here, growth is expected to rise,  but nowhere to near what is needed to provide enough jobs for the young people joining the labor market. Public debt has been on the rise, exceeding 50 percent of GDP in many of these countries. In addition,  some countries are dealing with conflicts, terrorism, large inflows of refugees, and heightened security risks.

So, there are big challenges all around. Stability is ultimately at stake. Youth unemployment is the highest in the world—averaging 25 percent, and exceeding 30 percent in nine countries. Moreover, over 27 million hopeful young people will join the workplace over the next five years, anxious to be included. But so far their aspirations are unfulfilled, and their understandable frustration is compounded by perceived unfairness. Surveys find that more than 60 percent of people believe that connections matter far more than qualifications for getting a job. This could easily lead to dissatisfaction, a rise in social tensions, and a collapse in social trust.

Key Fiscal Challenges

Against this backdrop, let me turn to the fiscal dimension. The bottom line is that unless fiscal policy is on a sustainable path, rising debt will weigh on already overburdened young people, and there will not be space to fund the spending needed for inclusive growth.

Revenue was the focus of last year’s Forum. Many countries have undertaken important reforms on the revenue side, including the recent introduction of a VAT in Saudi Arabia and UAE. This is an important step toward diversifying revenue and building tax capacity. There is of course scope to do more as domestic revenues are very low, averaging only 10 percent of GDP. This must be done with equity and fairness in mind—both of which are conditions for the acceptability of taxation.

This year we focus on the other side of the coin, expenditures. Revenue and expenditure policies complement each other and should be evaluated jointly as a package to achieve fiscal, economic, and social objectives.

Expenditure priorities

If we look at spending, it tends to be quite high in the region—this is especially true among the GCC countries, where it is significantly above the emerging economy average, and approaches 55 percent of GDP in some countries. While the size of government depends on societal preferences, a high level of spending can easily outstrip the capacity to raise revenue.

Many countries are indeed taking steps to contain spending. But this is too often based on across-the-board reductions or ad-hoc cuts. A more strategic approach that protects the poor and the productive capacity of the economy is preferred.

Let us now consider the composition of spending: The priorities for sustainable and inclusive growth include public investment but also areas such as health, education, and social protection—areas where spending tends to be low in the Arab countries. In other areas,  such as energy subsidies and public wage bills, spending is high.

There is really no excuse for the continued use of energy subsidies. They are extremely costly—averaging 4.5 percent of GDP among oil exporters and 3 percent of GDP among oil importers, despite lower oil prices. They lack transparency—subsidies are often implicit and off budget. They are vastly inequitable—favoring the wealthy who consume a lot of energy. Perhaps worst of all, they are subsidizing environmental harm at a time when we need to go in the opposite direction—to protect the planet and peoples’ lives, health, and futures.

What about the public wage bill? I appreciate that government jobs can serve as a significant social “safety valve.” Yet when the public sector supports every fifth job, this comes with tremendous costs—for fiscal sustainability, for the development of a dynamic private sector, and for governance.

Such challenges are not unique to the Middle East. Many countries around the world have faced the need to reform their large or rapidly growing public wage bills. Careful design of reforms allowed some countries, including, Ireland to reduce its public wage bill by 4 percentage points of GDP. We look forward for Robert Watt, one of the key architects of the Irish reform, to share its lessons.

Ultimately, the common good is ill-served by a system of patronage that hurts productivity and heralds privilege, by the corruption that comes from putting cronyism ahead of capability. This system disposes of good talent, and it reduces incentives to invest in skills and knowledge—the drivers of long-term growth. It can magnify the sense of dissatisfaction, distrust, and resentment—and it is ultimately self-defeating.

Finally, the current pattern of spending  remains inefficient across different sectors, including in health, education, and public investment. High wage bills have failed to improve the quality of public services. Nor is public investment delivering in line with expectations, as shown by several Public Investment Management Assessments.

All of this leads to subpar social outcomes. Life expectancy in the Arab countries is about ten years below the OECD average. School enrollment is still not universal, too many girls are still being kept at home, and student performance on standardized tests is among the lowest in the world. The poverty rate is relatively high and inequality remains a concern.

Looking ahead

As I said at the outset, these are daunting challenges. But they are not insurmountable.

Good progress has been made in phasing out energy subsidies. All oil exporters have raised domestic prices, with many committing to do more. Oil importers have also made progress. Egypt, for example, has committed to further energy reform in its program supported by the IMF.

Tunisia is also reforming its energy subsidies, which has bequeathed the government one percent of GDP in fiscal savings—which it can now deploy for priority spending such as social protection.

The bottom line is that the region is off to a promising start on energy subsidies, but there is still a long way to go—especially by depoliticizing fuel price setting and introducing automatic pricing mechanisms.

The second reform area relates to reducing pressure on the public wage bill. This will include better aligning wage levels with those prevailing in the private sector and moving away from the embedded system of state patronage. If done right—and with the right social protections—this could help unleash greater innovation and ingenuity in the private sector, tapping into the amazing potential of your young people.

But wage bill reforms should be conducted carefully and strategically. They should take place within a broader expenditure policy agenda, linked to deliverable social goals, including the Sustainable Development Goals. They should be as equitable as possible, and include early social impact analyses. And they should take place within the broader context of diversifying the economy, reducing corruption, strengthening social protection, and making the business environment more conducive to the creation of decent well-paying jobs.

There is also scope to improve the efficiency of spending. These gains can be significant. In health, for example, worldwide spending inefficiencies subtract more than two years from healthy life expectancy—reducing them by 10 percent gets you the same benefit as boosting spending by 0.7 percent of GDP. In this region, there is a lot of scope for doing better in this area, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

In education too, there are big efficiency gaps in countries like Oman, Mauritania, and Egypt.

The same holds true for public investment. In this region, the public investment efficiency gap—a measure of the value lost due to inefficiencies in the investment process—is estimated to be more than 20 percent in countries like Jordan and Mauritius. We believe that strengthening public investment management practices could close up to two-thirds of the efficiency gap. Our analysis also suggests that reducing public investment inefficiencies in the GCC to the levels of best performing countries could save over 2 percent of GDP each year.

The bottom line is that increasing the efficiency of spending will also free up resources to devote to health, education, and social protection. This is a “win-win”—a way to reduce poverty and inequality without boosting overall spending.

In this context, I should note that the IMF has been researching how fiscal policies can promote inclusive growth and reduce inequality. Our last Fiscal Monitor, for example, looked at practical ways of reducing inequality—touching on progressive taxation, investment in health and education, and the pros and cons of a universal basic income.

I should note that there are some promising angles when it comes to improving spending efficiency. One is digitalization, which can help countries deliver public services more effectively at lower cost. Think about better identification and authentication systems, such as biometric technology. Just to give some examples: in India, the transfer of social benefits to biometrically-linked bank accounts was crucial to reducing leakage from subsidies, while in South Africa, moving to a biometrically-secured debit card for social transfer payments greatly reduced fraud and corruption. Another important area entails strengthening governance and improving public financial management. And of course I would not close my remarks without recommending gender budgeting.

Overall, I am convinced that with the right reforms in the right context and with the right protections, fiscal policy will be able to support your vital economic and social goals.

Conclusion

Let me conclude by reiterating my optimism. The challenges of the Arab region may be great, but so is the potential of its people and the determination of its economic leaders.

As the Arabic proverb puts it, “Man jadda wajad waman zara’a hasad” (Who toils succeeds and who plants reaps).

Remember, the Arab nations once led the world in the pursuit of knowledge, in scientific innovation—and indeed in the idea that inclusion, fairness, and decency are the hallmarks of civilization. I believe firmly that this is not only your legacy, but also your destiny—so that the legitimate aspirations of your young people might find legitimate expression in an economy that works for all.

And as you walk the road of reform, a road that might not always be as smooth and straight as we all would like, I pledge to you that you have an enduring friend and partner in the IMF. We will walk the road with you. We will share the journey.

Thank you very much—shukran!

 

ANC Veterans Leauge

THE ANC VETERANS LEAGUE APPLAUDS THE INITIATIVE TAKEN BY THE TWO LEADERS TO BRING STABILITY IN THE COUNTRY

The ANC Veterans League profusely lauds the initiative by the country’s President Comrade Jacob Zuma and ANC President Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa in a bid to resolve the impasse on the smooth transition of power.The cancelled National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting could, in most probability, have resulted in the president being recalled immediately. His recall would have humiliated him and in the process, dented the country’s image and the ANC brand.
We have been officially informed that the discussion that took place between the two leaders were fruitful and constructive. This, we firmly believe, is all in the interest of the country and the ANC.
It is hoped that the transition of power would materialize sooner as the country and society needs stability and certainty. The Veteran’s League also commends the initiative taken by the Speakers of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete and Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Modise to postpone the State of the Nation Address (SONA) until further notice. The State of the Nation is a seminal event that gives society hope that we are prepared to deal with the serious challenges of corruption, lack of delivery of basic services, as
well as the propensity to boost investor confidence, help create jobs for the youth and deal with mass unemployment.

The Veterans League supports all efforts by the current leadership to unite society, get rid of gate keepers and factions, allow security establishment to deal with rotten tomatoes, renew the ANC and regain the lost confidence in our glorious movement. The sooner the smooth transition of power takes place, the better it is for the country and our glorious movement. As always, we stand ready to serve.

From
Snuki Zikalala
President of ANC Veterans League

CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN NATIONAL CONGRESS COMRADE CYRIL RAMAPHOSA ON DISCUSSION WITH PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA, COMRADE JACOB ZUMA ON TRANSITION

Fellow South Africans,

There has been a lot of speculation and anxiety about the position of
President Jacob Zuma as the head of state and government of our country.

I would like to clarify some matters in this regard.Last night, President Jacob Zuma and I began direct discussions on the transition and matters relating to his position as the President of the
Republic.

The discussions were constructive and lay the basis for a speedy
resolution of the matter in the interests of the country and its people.

On the basis of the progress made, it was agreed to postpone a special
meeting of the ANC National Executive Committee that had been scheduled
for later today. This will enable President Zuma and myself to conclude
our discussions and report back to our organisation and the country in
the coming days.

I am aware that the uncertainty surrounding the position of the Head of
State and Government is a cause for concern among many South Africans.
This is understandable. However, I am certain that the process we have
now embarked on will achieve an outcome that not only addresses these
concerns, but also unites our people around the tasks that all of us must
necessarily undertake to build our country. We will be able to
communicate further on President Zuma¹s position as President of the
Republic once we have finalised all pertinent matters.

While the current situation has necessitated the postponement until
further notice of the State of the Nation Address, the work of government
and Parliament will continue.

This is a challenging time for our country. Both President Zuma and
myself are aware that our people want and deserve closure. The
constructive process we have embarked on offers the greatest opportunity
to conclude this matter without discord or division.

Throughout this process, I am guided by the principle that the interests
and needs of the South African people are paramount.

Issued by
Cyril Ramaphosa
President of the African National Congress

Fedusa

FEDUSA Welcomes Postponement of SONA – Ready with Contingency Recovery Economic Plan

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) welcomes the postponement of the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2018 to force Jacob Zuma to step down as President of the Republic of South Africa. The Zuma administration was dogged by scandal after scandal, our country was embarrassed internationally, the Constitutional Court rebuked him for failing to implement the recommendations of the Public Protector, he refused to act in the best interest of the country when he reshuffled cabinet 11 times and crashed the economy by appointing five finance ministers.
The Public Protector’s report implicates Zuma of improper and unethical conduct, advancing improper relationships and involvement of the Gupta family in the removal and appointment of ministers and directors of State Owned Entities (SOEs) resulting in improper and possibly corrupt award of state contracts and benefits to the Gupta family’s businesses. FEDUSA will not entertain any behind the scenes amnesty deals with Zuma and other in exchange for resigning as President. FEDUSA demands that the law should be allowed to take it full cause.
The corrupt and self-centred leadership style of Zuma caused deep political uncertainty, low economic growth and job crises that have gripped South Africa. President Jacob Zuma allegedly refused to step down from office following a crucial meeting with the top six officials of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party.
FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George said the postponement of the SONA will give our country an invaluable opportunity to stabilize the situation by electing a new leader to replace President Zuma under whose watch South Africa has been flung into a series of profound socio-economic difficulties such as the sovereign credit rate downgrading to sub-investment grade or junk status by Standard and Poor, Fitch and Moody’s; the cash flow and governance crisis at Eskom and other state owned enterprises; state capture in cahoots with the controversial Gupta family; and rampant corruption across the public sector.
FEDUSA commits itself to work closely with the social partner leaders representing government, business and organised labour to development a contingency recovery economic plan for South Africa to achieve higher inclusive economic growth and employment creation concluded George.

ANC

Saving the ANC from Losing the Next Elections

ANC’s electoral reform will save our glorious movement from losing the next elections says Omry Makgoale

Above all, we have to be honest with the voters and with our fellow ANC members. We have no divine right to govern, any more than King Charles I of England and Scotland, who was executed in 1649 for his abuse of power. We have to earn the right to govern by what we do.
Above all, we have to acknowledge the severe failure of ANC government under present South Africa President Jacob Zuma, which brought the country into State Capture and corruption at all levels of government and administration. The voters know this. We have to prove to them that we understand this too, and that we acknowledge the ANC’s guilt for huge failures of government, which threaten the welfare of the people.
We also have to prove to the electorate that we have a serious programme to change this.
This requires ANC to undertake two kinds of reform.
1. Reform Internal ANC electoral methods to One ANC Member One Vote for electing the office bearers: president, secretary general, treasurer general all the way to branch chairperson. This method will get rid of slates and vote rigging. It will allow all card carrying members to elect their leaders for the first time in their lives. This will democratise ANC and for the first time there will be majority rule in the ANC, instead of the bribery, gate-keeping and intimidation that preceded the 54th elective conference at Nasrec last December.
2. Reform of parliamentary electoral laws to elect 75% of MPS by constituencies and 25% using the current party list system. This method will allow black citizens to directly elect their MPS for the first time in the history of South Africa. We will establish individual accountability of MPs, so that the voters can remove MPs who are corrupt or incompetent. In this way we will take forward the promise of the Freedom Charter that “The People Shall Govern!” At present this promise has not been realised by ANC, as every voter can see. It is our responsibility now to take democracy forward.
If we introduce these two reforms I believe the ANC and the country will be saved from rogue politicians. It will no longer be possible to capture the state and the government.
Democratic reform is the only way to also save the ANC. Let us be true to our founding principles by showing we can reform bad practice.

Declaration 2018 NEDLAC Labour School

Introduction:
The three leading South African trade union federations representing millions of workers who constitute the backbone of the South African Economy met from the 29th – 31st January 2018 at Faircity, Rondevallei Hotel in Pretoria to develop new strategies on how to improve the working conditions of South African workers and the living conditions of ordinary poor people in general.   
The Deputy President of the country, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa, and the ministers of Labour, Higher Education and Training, Economic Development and Finance addressed the NEDLAC Labour School. The other speakers included, the Director of the CCMA, the Panel of Progressive Economists, the former Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan and the former Auditor General Terrence Nombembe.
The discussions in the meeting were organized around the following Thematic Areas:
1.      Make South African Economy work for the People
2.      Human Resource Development and Free Education
3.      Labour laws amendments, National Minimum Wage and enforcement.
4.      The role of Social Dialogue in Achieving Social Justice
5.      From State Capture and Corruption to Good and Clean Governance
6.      National Health Insurance in our Life Time
7.      BRICS and SADC chairmanship
8.      2018 ILC Agenda and the ILO Centenary
9.    4th Industrial Revolution/Future of Work – its negative impacts and opportunities of              creating new and sustainable jobs
10.  Comprehensive Social Security
11.  NEDLAC chamber reports 
What is to be done?
1.      Make South African Economy work for the People
The job summit: there is a commitment by social partners and government to convene the job summit in the same manner we had a summit on the Framework For South Africa’s Response To The International Economic Crisis. It is important to utilize the same approach deployed of the Committee of Principals. Therefore, it is not necessary to re-invent the policies that aim to deliver the same outcomes to ensure alignment and effective implementation. The federations commit to work together with progressive economists and other stakeholders in order to ensure that the summit addresses the following issues:
a)      Strengthening and improving IPAP
b)      Prioritizing incentives for labour intensive sectors
c)      Prioritizing critical scarce skills
d)      Reforming and restructuring monopolies and addressing concentration in the economy
e)      Strengthening township economies and entrepreneurship
f)       Reviewing of the NDP in particular the economy and the labour chapters
g)   Retirement investments: We need a common ground on a shared vision and this could include concluding a social compact to address the above challenges.
h)      Some of the practical steps to deal with current problems include the following;
·         Infrastructure fund drawing on public and private resources to focus on social and           economic infrastructure.  
·    Increased investment levels in the productive sectors such as the PIC and IDC supported by retirement funds.
·         Incomes policy that reduces inequalities and increase in savings.  
·         Localisation.
i)        Workers must be directly represented as a majority in all PIC strategic committees and on the PIC board of directors
j)       We call for worker representation in all state owned companies and in all private companies where worker’s monies are invested. All these companies including the PIC must use workers’ monies to invest in developmental projects that will stand to benefit South Africa’s economy and to uplift the living conditions of the working class and the poor.
k)      We call for the implementation of the New Growth Path job drivers. 
l)     We call for the convening of the Economic and Jobs Summit during the workers month of May this year.  The primary focus of this Summit should be to develop the country’s sustainable response to the current economic challenges including confronting high unemployment rates and monopolies in the economy. We call on the Deputy President to lead this process and to ensure that the outcomes of the Summit are binding and implemented. The leadership of the three federations will meet in a week’s time to develop joint proposals towards the Summit.
 
2.      The role of Social Dialogue in Achieving Social Justice
a)     Whatever the challenges, it is clear that institutions of Social dialogue in South Africa such as NEDLAC remain relevant.
b)    We call on government to ensure that the overall budget for NEDLAC is increased to improve the capacity of NEDLAC to make it an effective central platform to advance radical socio – economic development policies and to monitor the implementation of such policies.  
c)    NEDLAC must be given sufficient financial resources, to among others execute research work that is required to shape and influence the content of legislation. 
 
  1. Working with CCMA and the Labour Court and building the capacity of trade unions to execute their core tasks
CCMA
a)      The capacity of the CCMA must be improved. The CCMA commissioners must be seen to be impartial and must do their work without fear, favour and prejudice.
b)    In this regard the three federations commits to work closely with the CCMA to build the capacity of our shop stewards to represent workers effectively and to ensure that the CCMA is efficient and is accessible to the workers.
c)   The three federations will also undertake a campaign to challenge employers who undermine CCMA awards and Labour Court rulings, which are in favour of workers.
d)      The CCMA could play a valuable role to improve the overall effectiveness of the training layoff scheme, as the system is not utilized to it intended purpose.
 
Labour court
a)      The meeting expressed concern about the current poor infrastructure of the labour court, which leads to inefficiencies in carrying out justice.
It is unacceptable that the problem of cases taking long remains unaddressed, as a result of a lack of proper systems in the labour court. In this regard the three federations commit to work with the labour court to address this challenges. This will include confronting the delays, which are caused by employers who challenge the CCMA and labour court judgments for the sake of delaying justice. We commit to work with the labour court to ensure that there is enough human resources to address the problem of the availability of Judges including ensuring that there are reasonable incentives to attract more experienced people for the task of being judges.  
4.      From State Capture and Corruption to Good and Clean Governance
We note that there is a process to strengthen legislation to deal with corruption and ensure individual accountability. We will interact with the process to ensure that it is effective and that it does not flout the countries labour laws and efficiency to implement developmental programs.
We are also encouraged by the recent steps taken by government to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into state capture and corruption, including other inquiries already underway, which continue to expose corruption both in the private and public sector.
We call on the law enforcement agencies to arrest, prosecute and jail the perpetrators of corruption both the in the public and private sector.
  1. Labour laws amendments, National Minimum Wage and enforcement.
We want the process towards a legislated National Minimum Wage to be finalized before the 1st May this year. We call on Government and business not to delay the implementation of this long awaited legislation.We call for an increase of resources towards the Department of Labour to be directed at building the capacity to monitor and enforce labour laws including COIDA and the new National Minimum Wage. Therefore, the number of inspectors must be increased as well as involving bargaining councils to improve enforcement.
We call on government to ensure that employers who undermine and violate labour laws are treated as criminals.
6.      4th Industrial Revolution/Future of Work – its negative impacts and opportunities of creating new and sustainable jobs
The fourth industrial revolution has both negative and positive impacts on the economy and it has the potential to destroy jobs. As automation substitutes for labour across the entire economy, the net displacement of workers by machines might exacerbate the economic crisis already faced by our country. We call on government to put relevant programs in place to develop the necessary skills to meet the demands of the fourth industrial revolution. The potential challenges which will be imposed by the fourth industrial revolution requires a response that will be coordinated at the level of the deputy president of the country.
We call upon the Human Resources Development Council to convene a conference to develop a country response to the threats and opportunities posed by the fourth industrial revolution.
Human Resource Development and Free Education
The meeting welcomed government’s decision on declaring free education in institutions of higher learning for the working class and the poor.  In this regard we will work with government to ensure that the free higher education policy is fully implemented. We therefore call on government to ensure that the process towards the Free Higher Education legislation is brought to NEDLAC  to deal with the following as per NEDLAC agreement: (a) the Final Report of the Fees Commission (b) Progress Reports on the Central Application System (c) Reports on curriculum transformation and language policy  (d) Progress report on the NSFAS restructuring (e) Progress report on the historical debt from NSFAS (f) Reports on the progress in respect of institutional autonomy of universities and public accountability. It is important to ensure allignment of the school curriculum with TVET Colleges and universities. The investment to be made by government must ensure that the economy of the country generates returns on the through-put of institutions of higher learning. In this regard it will also be important that business ensures increased investments including in FET institutions  into infrastructural development.   
 
7.      National Health Insurance in our Life Time
a)     Visible steps needs to be shown that there is implementation of NHI beyond the pilot phase. In this regard we demand that regular progress reports are tabled for discussion in NEDLAC during 2018
b)      Concurrent with this process is that there must be visible steps to ensure that there is an overhaul of the health system directed at serving the majority of our people and the two tier system is done away with over time.  
8.      BRICS and SADC chairmanship
a)      As a country we need to ensure that we leave a long lasting legacy as we currently occupy the position of chairmanship in both BRICS and SADC. In this regard there is a need for government and labour to develop joint country positions that are presented in these international forums.
b)      We call on the Department of Labour to make resources available for labour’s full and meaningful participation in these forums. 
9.      2018 ILC Agenda and the ILO Centenary
a)      We need broader representation inclusive of gender of social partners in the ILC and we will work with the ILO to develop a country position towards the ILO centenary. The ministers of Labour, Finance and Women must allocate resources to the federations to increase delegations especially with regard to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in line with the 2018 ILC theme eliminating Gender Based Violence in the Workplace.  
10.  Comprehensive Social Security
a)      We are encouraged that the process of engaging on the Comprehensive Social Security policy has started but were are expressing our deep concerns that this process is moving very slowly.
b)    We therefore call on government to expedite this process and mandate its relevant departments in particular the National Treasury to negotiate in good faith in the interest of the working class and the poor.
11.  NEDLAC chamber reports 
a)      We have received reports of priorities in NEDLAC chambers and it is clear that moving forward, all social partners must bring their best people with the requisite knowledge to these chambers meetings. In the absence of this the NEDLAC policy making process will be compromised
12.  Second Financial Sector Summit
a)      We have taken stock of the progress and setbacks since the First Financial Sector summit, which was held in 2002. It is now time to convene a Second Financial Summit to decisively deal with the continued challenges in the financial sector such as reckless lending and continued eviction from houses, including the corruption in the sector.
Conclusion
The work of labour at NEDLAC needs more resources in order to ensure that we do not only have one strategic planning session but are able to have more of these in a year. We call on the Department of Labour to provide more resources to allow for the convening of at least two labour schools per year.
We commit to ensure that all these tasks are undertaken with diligence and unmatched precision. We shall spare none of our time and energy to pull our sleeves and put our collective hands on the deck to ensure that each and every commitment made in this declaration is executed without fail.