African business, politics and lifestyle
South Africa’s unions flex their muscles
The attempt to sink the $10 billion bourse debut of Vodacom, which went ahead on Monday after an 11th-hour court ruling, hurt the rand currency and revived investor concerns over Zuma.
There was no doubt the bid had undermined Zuma’s strenuous efforts before last month’s election to assure business and investors that there would be no policy shift towards his left wing allies once he took office.
Lawyers for the government opposed union federation COSATU’s attempt to stop the listing in court and made clear the Zuma administration stood by what had been agreed already.
But investors still want reassurance from Zuma that other deals would not face similar challenges by his allies.
COSATU, which has 1.8 million paid-up members in the country of nearly 50 million, said it was angry and disappointed at the court allowing the listing to go ahead and called on South Africans to boycott Vodacom.
But by taking a strong stance on the Vodacom listing, the labour federation may be positioning itself to play a bigger role and could intensify its protest action against other businesses.
Will that be good for South Africa? How successful will the unions be? What will Zuma do about it? What can he do?