Weekend news wrap up with Bob Mabena – 1 August 2016
About petrol and the strike – what do we know? By Friday, there were no further talks between unions and employers. Only the truckers are affected by this strike action but not all of them are union members; and a large proportion of the fuel transport business is outsourced to companies and drivers who do not fall inside the bargaining Council. The majority of workers in this filed are at work – very few are participating.The National Petroleum Employer’s Association’s offer stands at 7% increase this year, and a CPI of 1% next year. Ceppawawu, the union that called the strike is demanding 9%. There is very little reason to panic because petrol attendants are at work and not involved in this trike – there is no stoppage at the refineries as well. The executive director of the South African Petroleum Industry Association says it would be counterproductive to spread panic by telling motorists to fill up before the fuel runs out because that is precisely what will cause the fuel in affected regions to run out – especially in the big metros.
And then there is that little issue of life after the municipal elections. We are still faced with a lethargic economy and we are not out of the woods yet, as far as ratings agencies are concerned. In the business section of the Sunday Times, McKinsey’s Nomfanelo Magwentshu points to Advanced manufacturing, Infrastructure, Natural gas, Service exports and Agricultural value chain as the main drivers of the economy that could; if put together, create more than R1 Trillion in GDP and 3.5 million jobs by 2030. Obviously there are a lot of obstacles that scupper any good intentions of improving the economy and one of them is the “trust deficit” between state and industry. Trevor Manuel alluded to this as well in another article in the Sunday Times. Added to this trust deficit problem is what he said was the corruption levels in South Africa, and the fact that too few things are attached to consequence. I think there is no single South African who would be able to disagree with the former finance minister but there has to be political and civilian will to root out corruption.
There is some good news, in closing. South Africa recorded a second consecutive monthly trade surplus in June. The surplus narrowed to R12.5 Billion from a revised record of R18.4 Billion in May. Let’s get over the elections then and get this country working at a faster rate than we have seen in the past 21 years. We all benefit.