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COSATU Spokesman Talks About Strike - 2002-09-30

South Africa’s largest labor organization is heading for a national strike to protest a government privatization plan. COSATU, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, says it will march across the country Tuesday and Wednesday to voice its disapproval. It says privatization will slow down the provision of services to poor communities.

The South African Communist Party is supporting the strike, but the ruling ANC party has condemned it. COSATU spokesman Vukani Mde said the organization is going on strike because the government’s plan for restructuring the economy, namely its emphasis on privatization, will not benefit the poor people. He said the political and economic stability that the government is presently enjoying is not genuine and has been bought at the expense of the poor.

Mr. Mde said since 1995 the official unemployment rate rose from 15 to 30 percent officially, but he said the unofficial rate is about 41 percent. Given that fact, he said, COSATU cannot understand how the economy can be deemed to be stable and strong.

He said his organization is going on strike because it does not believe in trickle down capitalism, and that is what the government appears to be practicing. He spoke with English to Africa reporter Richard Kotey. Click above links to hear interview.