South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande on Wednesday urged workers to take an interest in their pension funds because the "looters" had their eyes on it.
"You must know who is investing the funds, where are they being invested… we must be careful. Get close to the PIC which has… your money, because it looks like the looters are coming close to it."
Public Investment Corporation (PIC) boss Dan Matjila was quoted in a Sunday Times report as having said that certain people "wanted the keys to the PIC", and were lobbying to get rid of him.
The PIC reportedly has almost R1.9-trillion in assets, and handles pension funds for South African government workers, including nurses and teachers.
Fin24 reported that Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba had rubbished reports that Treasury was seeking to use PIC funds to finance struggling government entities, such as South African Airways (SAA).
Nzimande, who was addressing hundreds of Cosatu protesters in Johannesburg, said state-owned entities - particularly Eskom and South African Airways - had been plunged into crisis.
He took a jab at the controversial Gupta family, saying that workers must not allow the family to take away the country.
"We cannot sit, watch and allow this Indian family, called the Guptas, to take our country. Workers can’t keep quiet."
Nzimande asked the Hawks: "Why are you sitting back and not acting against this broad daylight looting of the state, and criminal activity. Where is the NPA? Why is it not acting?"
He said the strike was not a strike against the ANC, but against what was wrong.
"It is not a strike against the democratic government, but a strike about what is wrong in our government. Those who are stealing are telling us, in their useless newspapers, that this is a strike by the workers against the ANC."
He said workers should not keep quiet when the ANC was being stolen in broad daylight.
"The ANC does not belong to its leaders, it belongs to the people of this country. It is the people’s movement and we will defend it. The parasites are saying billions of rands are going to be lost because of this strike. The people who are stealing are the people stealing billions from the state."
Nzimande urged workers to think long and hard about the SACP’s resolution to contest future elections.
"Things are going to be worse if the ANC is taken over by a faction in December. It will no longer be that ANC of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu - it will be something foreign."
He said the power of the workers was the ultimate deciding factor.
"But we do not want to go there on our own, we want to engage with you as workers of this country and engage with the alliance, and say what is it that needs to be done and how should it be done."
He said the establishment of a judicial inquiry needed to be expedited.