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A luta continua: it’s Lenin and Cosatu vs Cyril and the ANC

Ideas

A luta continua: it’s Lenin and Cosatu vs Cyril and the ANC

Sibanye-Stillwater strike demonstrates how Cosatu has misplayed a winning hand and let down workers since 1994

Columnist

In a country where people have restricted access to quality education, healthcare, water and housing because they can’t afford these things and are unable to find any sort of a job, it’s interesting that our constitution is silent on whether we have the right to work.

Yet its framers went to unusual lengths to elaborate on our other rights. Human dignity, life, privacy, freedom of (but not from) religion ... it’s a long list, which includes, at 22, the right to choose one’s trade, profession or occupation. Nothing about the right to sell one’s labour though.

If the opportunity was missed in section 22 to give constitutional force to the little matter of work, arguably humanity’s second-oldest activity, it was missed again in section 23, “Labour relations”. It reads: “Everyone has the right to fair labour practices. Workers have the right to form and join trade unions and go on strike. Employers have the right to form and join employers’ organisations.’’ ..

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