Clearly, this is a serious blow to industrial harmony. It is a sad day for the gains we have made as a people. Why do I say so and this is why I am really making another passionate plea to the Hon. Vice President to reconsider the couching of these sections, particularly Section 174. What is clear is that it betrays an inarticulate measure premise, the hidden motive. The hidden motive is to mimic and portray a change in the base in terms of the ownership of the means of production. The liberation struggle was all about the working peoples’ rights. The liberation struggle was all about making sure that we deal with the lowest of the low. The liberation struggle was all about the rights of the working people in the industries. If you look at this kind of a clause, it is reflecting the change in the superstructure, because there has been a change in the base in terms of who owns the means of production, particularly in terms of the ruling class.
So, it has a danger in it. We may not see the language, we may not see the motive but the motive and the sting in it is going to affect and undermine the gains of our liberation struggle. I cannot claim to be a custodian of the liberation struggle, but I am a defender of the liberation struggle. I believe that those gains we have made in the liberation struggle cannot be undermined under our watch, particularly as Parliament. I want to do this on behalf of those who are dead, who are not able to come and debate in this Parliament. I have a duty to represent the many heroes and heroines who would have wanted to see the gains of the liberation struggle being defended and being advanced.
This is why Hon. Chair, I would urge the Hon. Vice President to rethink – Section 174 (2), in the context of the issues of differentiation of salaries and working conditions for the judges in the Labour Court, Administrative Court and the High Court. Why do I say that? I say that because the way that clause is couched is such that it does not prohibit differentiation, it only speaks to issues of equalization in terms of those who are currently serving. In terms of the new arrangement and any other dispensation that is going to arise out of our circumstances in the future, you will then see that they would be a differentiation between the judges in the Labour Court, Administrative Court and the High Court.
It puts paid to the argument that has been advanced by other colleagues here to say the Labour Court is not as important and it is supposed to be subordinate. There is the judgment by J. Bhunu to the effect and that has now been practiced in the courts that you cannot take a labour matter to the High Court in as much as it is a court of jurisdiction, you have to go to the Labour Court. So, why should we undress the Labour Court? Why should we go there and make the Labour Court naked? Why do we want to see the Labour Court without the sufficient muscle and authority that is important for dispensing industrial harmony and workplace peace and justice? Hon. Vice President, I know you do not normally listen to your young men but please listen to the wisdom of a young man, for once it will matter – [HON. MEMBERS: Hear, hear.] – For once it will matter and I know that you will see the wisdom of young age. You always say young people are not custodians, repositories or reservoirs of wisdom. However, on this one – accept that the young ones seem to carry the wisdom that will help the older ones, for the good of our country. Thank you very much.
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