Cape Town -Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has slammed former president FW De Klerk for comments made during a Cape Town Press Club event last week.
As part of his speech, De Klerk said the inequality divide in SA was no longer between blacks and whites but between unionised and employed workers on the one hand, and the unemployed on the other.
Vavi countered that the main division was race, class and gender.
On Monday, Vavi Tweeted that it was irritating to read what De Klerk had said.
“Nothing is more insulting than FW de Klerk claim that the main divide in our society is between employed and unemployed workers.”
Vavi then listed statistics to rebut De Klerk.
“Unemployment among Africans, at 38 percent in 1995, rose to 45 percent in 2005. Only 36 percent of Africans [were] absorbed, but 65 percent of whites [were] absorbed into employment,” he said.
“Although women are 86 percent of the number of of men in the labour force, they are equally unemployed. The [UN] Human Development Index in 2010 states that 44 percent of workers live on less than R10 a day – 49 percent of the population lives on less than R322 a month.
De Klerk in his speech took a swipe at Cosatu saying: “Cosatu is determined to defend [the divide] by vigorously opposing any efforts to make the labour market more flexible”.
“It is a divide that lies at the heart of our inequality challenge.”
He added that another principal cause of inequality was the “catastrophic failure of our education system”.
A total of 60 percent of those who left school did so without a matric, and those who passed matric did so with an average mark of less than 40 percent, De Klerk added. – Cape Argus