Cosatu wants seat on Transnet board

PARLIAMENT – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) should be given representation on the boards of Transnet and other state-owned enterprises to help halt their decline, the federation’s parliamentary representative argued on Wednesday.

“Workers should be represented on the boards, it should be Eskom, Transnet and so on,” Matthew Parks told Parliament’s portfolio committee on public enterprises.

After proposing debt relief for Eskom through pension fund savings, and concluding that South African Airways was possibly beyond saving, COSATU has turned its attention to Transnet and Parks tabled a list of interventions it was proposing to strengthen the freight rail entity.

These included, as with Eskom, a call to rightsize bloated management structures and contain compensation for senior managers. Parks suggested that the R160 billion reduction to the public sector wage bill proposed by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in the national budget last month, be spread across state-owned enterprises to lessen the blow to workers.

COSATU has called the minister’s plan a declaration of war on workers and said it was battle-ready to resist it. Parks questioned why Mboweni did not target the upper echelons, of parastatals though ministers regularly mentioned that their numbers created a drain on the companies’ finances.