Cosatu Opposes South Africa’s Plans to Cut 30,000 State Jobs

Prinesha Naidoo

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The South African government is seeking to cut 30,000 state jobs and freeze pay increases for three years, according to the Congress of South African Trade Unions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday his administration is engaging with labor and other stakeholders on measures to contain the government’s wage bill, which accounts for 35.4% of national spending. He didn’t provide details of cost cuts, saying that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni would elaborate in his Feb. 26 budget speech. There are about 1.3 million government workers.

“We’re not going to entertain those” proposals, said Sizwe Pamla, a spokesman for Cosatu, the country’s biggest labor federation. “Government has a right to engage with its employees but government doesn’t have the right to its own slaves.”

The rand pared an advance to trade 0.5% stronger versus the dollar by 5:23 p.m. in Johannesburg, after gaining as much as 0.8% earlier.

(Updates with rand reaction in last paragraph.)

--With assistance from Robert Brand and Mike Cohen.

To contact the reporter on this story: Prinesha Naidoo in Johannesburg at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rene Vollgraaff at, Gordon Bell

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