For the first time Pres. Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address created the impression that government is eager to put South Africa to work. His address made us feel positive and motivated; we look forward of being part of the plans he spelled out.
UASA has emphasised several times in the past, as it did again in March last year, that although Section 54 of the Mine Health and Safety Act has no doubt saved many lives, the current indiscriminate application thereof should be reviewed because of the damage to the economy.
Currently, all the activities at a mine are halted when an incident occurs, even if it only affects one specific plant or a workplace. According to Franz Stehring, UASA’s Divisional Manager responsible for the mining workers' sector, calculations show that each day of zero production mean losses of approximately R6 million per day which directly affect profits. Quantifying the potential loss to the three main mining houses over the period of one year means that the mining industry loses approximately a whopping R3,24 billion per annum.
South Africans, with the exception of the high income group, are experiencing very high inflation.
Workers and pensioners spending less than R79 152 per year on consumer goods and services should have received an increase in income of between 7.3% and 8.3% just to maintain their purchasing power. Those who received less were worse off in December 2011 compared to 2010.
The milestone celebrations of the ANC as an organisation needs to be applauded.
Although the 8 January speech by President Zuma proved to be somewhat disappointing, we are heartened by the fact that so much emphasis has been placed on the country’s education crisis. Our education and training system should indeed be the cornerstone of all efforts to radically transform South Africa and build a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous society.
UASA had hoped that Zuma would make some strong and clear points in respect of other serious issues concerning South African workers, including job creation, economic reform, the European debt crisis, and the future of the mining industry in terms of the Nationalisation debate.
With approximately 512 000 full time and 108 000 part time learners that wrote the matric exams last year, there is excitement and an expectancy in the air by and on behalf of the those who wrote the exams. The Minister of education will supposedly be equally excited to learn if she has been able to push up the pass rate to 70%, more than the 68% of 2011.
Unfortunately it seems to have become a bit of a fool’s game.
2011 is on its last legs and soon fireworks and champagne will herald the birth of a new year. It is time to take a break from your daily business and rest body and mind for the challenges of 2012.
UASA is immensely grateful for the successes achieved by the union during the past year. Without the dedication, commitment and hard work of our staff, it wouldn’t have been possible. Our loyal members and full-time representatives played an equally important role in our strength and influential position. For this I thank you all most sincerely.
I wish the entire UASA staff and membership quality time with your loved ones during this festive season. May you return to work in the new year with zeal and zest, refreshed and invigorated to tackle the challenges of 2012 with your characteristic diligence and commitment.