THE ANC’s KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Sihle Zikalala on Sunday laid down the gauntlet to the national government, urging the Cyril Ramaphosa administration to ensure that general and semi-skilled jobs were reserved only for South Africans.
Zikalala was delivering the ANC KZN’s provincial January 8 Statement in Mpophomeni Township, in Howick about 30km outside Pietermaritzburg, an area under the DA-controlled uMngeni Local Municipality.
The event was graced by some of the party’s national executive committee (NEC) members including former health minister Dr Zweli Mkhize, Lindiwe Zulu, Nocawe Mafu, ANC KZN secretary Mdumiseni Ntuli, newly elected ANC Moses Mabhida Region chairperson Mzimkhulu Thebolla and eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda.
Zikalala said that the government’s intervention in ensuring that general and semi-skilled jobs were reserved for South African citizens was crucial.
“In this regard we call, and we are emphatic in the January 8 Statement that opportunities in terms of the general economic opportunities and employment must be reserved for South Africans.
“If you talk about petrol attendants and people working in restaurants and say those jobs shouldn’t be protected for South Africans, where do you expect people without skills to work?
“We are saying the government must reserve general employment for the people of South Africa, also because South Africans get denied opportunities because it is easy for the private sector to employ foreign nationals because they will not demand the labour rights that are enjoyed by South Africans,” Zikalala said.
Quoting from the January 8 Statement presented last week by President Cyril Ramaphosa in Polokwane, Zikalala said that the government should publish the critical skills list and finalise legislation providing for certain occupations and businesses to be set aside for South Africans.
“The January 8 Statement has spoken and we should all follow it, as presented by President Cyril Ramaphosa. It says to the government it should expedite legislation to protect general and semi-skilled jobs for South Africans,” Zikalala said.
He also touched on the issues pertaining to the implementation of the ANC’s Radical Economic Transformation (RET), policy and its importance to accelerating economic transformation in the country.
“Those people who go around talking about Radical Economic Transformation, calling themselves a faction of the RET, must know that it is possible to implement the RET within the legislative framework of the government.
“RET is not implemented through hooliganism or factionalism, and here in KwaZulu-Natal we have managed to support more than 1 000 SMMEs as part of this RET programme, not as a faction that goes from one province to another dividing the movement,” Zikalala said.
At the same event, Cosatu KZN chairperson Sikhumbuzo Mdlalose challenged the ANC to resuscitate itself in society and analyse where the party went wrong in the last local government elections, particularly in Howick under the uMngeni Local Municipality, which the DA wrested from the ANC at the polls in 2021.
“The ANC can only stamp its authority as the leader of society, if it is led by sober-minded people who are not actually waiting for mandates from little gods and little goddesses.
“It should be the leadership that seeks to ensure that the relevance of the ANC in society is being redeemed, the relevance of the ANC in the working class. And the working class must actually feel that because we have no other hope, especially in electoral politics,” Mdlalose said.
He added that the ANC had a duty to ensure that the country’s democracy becomes a democracy of the majority rather than a democracy of the few, the liberals, businesses people and the bourgeoisie.
“It should be a democracy for the poor, a democracy for the downtrodden, a democracy for the landless, a democracy for those who can't help themselves.
“So we believe that as the ANC turns 110 years, it should resuscitate itself in society, especially here in Howick. This is an area where it is unprecedented that the ANC can actually lose elections.
“We need to look back, analyse, diagnose the problem and find where did we go wrong? What is it that has caused Howick to go? Mdlalose asked.