Nkutšoeu Motsau (Chairperson of Azanla MVA) writes:
The Democratic Alliance (DA) is baying for the privatisation of State Owned Enterprises (SOE). The ruling party wants them to remain what they are—milking cows—so they should continue milking them. The best way out is to hand them over to the workers, in one word, turn them into workers’ cooperatives.
Take the South African Airways (SAA) as an example. The air-traffic controllers, the pilots, the cabin crews, the check-in staff, the ticket sales office staff, the aided-passengers’ staff, the lost and found office staff, repair and maintenance staff, ground traffic control staff, the ground to aircraft and aircraft to ground luggage transfer staff, must be organised as a workers’ cooperative. Then the ownership and control of the SAA must be completely and wholly transferred to this workters’ cooperative. You might well want to know the implications of all this. In that case, read on.
All the decisions which were taken by the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the board of directors must now be taken by the workers themselves. They must do away with the board of directors.
They must prescribe a job description and the requirements for the position of the CEO who may not hire or fire anybody. The workers themselves must hire or fire the CEO who must attend their meetings, but may not take part in decision-making, that is, may not vote. They must determine the salary of the CEO which may not be higher than eight times the salary of the lowest paid worker. The workers must not only be in charge, they must be seen to be in charge.
The workers themselves must determine how the SAA must be run. They must determine both the international and domestic routes. They must determine which aircraft to buy and which to lay off. They must determine the job description and salary of every category of work within the cooperative. They must attend all the meetings of the co-operative and be active participants in all its activities.
The workers themselves, and not the CEO or the board of directors, must decide what to do with the profits of the cooperative. Ten percent of the gross profit must be set aside to assist in the establishment and coordination of other cooperatives. Thereafter , the workers must decide how to share and distribute the net profit: what percentage must be shared among the workers, what percentage must go for recapitalisation and maintenance, what percentage must go towards research, pensions, social responsibility (preschools, bursaries, medical aid, et cetera), including end of year bonuses.
Can you imagine the attitude of the workers towards a company in which they have not only a say but a stake. Can you imagine the attitude of the workers towards one another in a company in which they themselves decide the direction of the company together. Can you imagine the attitude of the workers to the property of the company which belongs to them.
I can only say: “Power to the people!”
(5 January 2018)
* The writer of this column, Nkutšoeu Motsau, was born in Top Location in the Vaal Triangle in 1953. He grew up in Sharpeville. He is a tetraplegic as a result of a car accident in July 2005 in Sharpeville and now resides in Cape Town, but still feels a deep rooted connection with the Vaal. Nkutšoeu is Chairperson of Azanla MVA.