Natasha Marrian writes that the cash crunch at labour federation Cosatu, which expects a R4m deficit in a year in which it has to bankroll an elective congress, was a long-time coming, but, while the drying up of subscriptions from the expelled National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has not helped, that is not the main reason behind the federation’s failing fortunes. 

The following report first appeared on South African Labour News yesterday.

Cosatu’s cash crisis not just a drying up of Numsa subs, but also misplaced priorities

THURSDAY, 05 MARCH 2015 13:30

Cosatu’s finance committee has now recommended nail-biting cost-cutting measures and its budget forecast for 2015 anticipates a drop in affiliate fees from R2.1m to R1.8m, despite the fees having risen by 17c per member.  Its income is set to fall from R82m last year to R74m, while spending will stay the same at R61m.  It seems that at the heart of the federation’s problems are misplaced priorities.  For example, Cosatu chose to purchase a plush new state of the art headquarters at a cost of R50m, while its “locals” are practically “nonexistent”.  The financial position of Cosatu’s affiliates has also contributed to the malaise as they have their own money woes due to declining union membership in a shrinking economy.  The political problems in the federation have also put strain on its finances due to millions being spent on forensic audits and lawyers.  Marrian says that Cosatu’s financial woes were inevitable, given that it has been consumed by infighting for over two years and there is no end in sight.  The factional fight continues even though it is clear a split has already occurred.  As boardroom politics continue to engulf the federation, the shop floor has largely taken a back seat.

Read this analysis in full at BDLive

Read too, Cosatu faces financial crunch, at IOL News