PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma did the right thing when he attacked the recent wildcat strikes and declared zero tolerance for future industrial actions outside the law, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The assurance failed to reassure investors and the value of the rand dropped as a result.
“The statement was necessary because there have been instances where the government has condoned illegal acts,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, chairman of the Chamber’s Human Resources Portfolio Committee. “The most recent example was the promise by the Minister of Agriculture that striking farm workers in the Western Cape would not lose their jobs despite their illegal actions.”
The Minister had effectively said that farm workers could continue breaking the law and that there would be no consequences.
“This is just not acceptable. It is contrary to all the principles of ‘the rule of law’ and the Minister should have been taken to task at the time. President Zuma’s statement last week of zero tolerance for illegal activities has come very late in the day. Perhaps that is why he failed to influence the markets. Nevertheless it was a welcome statement.”
Mr Bagraim said no country or its ministers could pick and choose which laws they would obey or enforce. It was this arbitrary attitude towards the law that undermined confidence and contributed to the rand’s slide.
“Business is particularly pleased that the ‘zero tolerance’ statement has come before this year’s strike season. We will now have an opportunity to see that business, the unions and the law enforcement authorities observe all the labour laws, as instructed by the President,” Mr Bagraim said.