The ANC national policy conference, currently underway at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, is expected to provide direction on how the ruling party will tackle crucial issues such as poverty, unemployment and inequality in the future.
Having achieved political transformation, the ANC is now looking to radically transform the country’s economy to alleviate poverty and eradicate inequalities. But labour economist at Adcorp Loane Sharp says he is not holding his breath.
“I am expecting to be comprehensively disappointed. The ANC is paralysed by its alliance partners,” he says. “Unemployment will not be seriously addressed until entire sections of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 are scrapped. But Cosatu will never tolerate that.”
Sharp says the section dealing with dismissal for poor performance should be reviewed, “It should have simple and easy-to-follow detail.”
Entire sections dealing with collective bargaining of wage agreements should be scrapped, he adds.
Sharp also thinks that closed shops – where workers are forced to join a specific union as a condition for securing employment – should be banned. And so should agency shop agreements – where workers are forced to pay union dues regardless of whether they have joined the union or not.
However, Sharp does not believe any of his suggestions will see the light of day, as delegates jockey for positions.
The four-day conference opened with an address by President Jacob Zuma and will see delegates break away into closed plenary sessions where they will debate various topics including mine nationalisation and state intervention in the country’s economy.