12th national congress

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9h00 – 10h00 Time is 09h00 in the morning, and Gallagher Convention Centre is buzzing with delegates of COSATU pouring in from all over South Africa to attend the mother of all Congresses: 12th National Congress 2015 under the vibrant and assuring theme of “Unity and Cohesion of COSATU to advance the National Democratic Revolution”.

Registration is still on…

09h20 – The Preamble of Cosatu Constitution goes like this: We the Trade Union representatives here present firmly commit ourselves to a unified democratic South Africa, free of oppression and economic exploitation…we believe that this could only be achieved under the leadership of a united working class.

09h30 – Delegation and guest are still undergoing registration.

10h30 – See delegates making their way into the main hall click here to see photos

12h20 – COSATU 1st Deputy president at the podium to lead the singing of the National Anthem. Delegates singing the National Anthem in a superb unison

Photos  (3)

12h45 – A moment of silent is being observed and a Roll Call (list of fallen heroes from unions) played with the SACTWU choir singing softly in the background.

12h50 – Acting General Secretary of Cosatu Bheki Ntshalintshali is now on the podium breaking down the credentials of affiliates in attendance.

13h20 – The House is still on credentials…

13h50 – Chairing the congress today is 1st Deputy President Comrade James Tyotyo… House still on credentials

15h00 – The house is voting on credentials under the watchful eye of the IEC

15h30 – Voting is done and the minutes has been adopted. Delegates are breaking for lunch and congress will proceed thereafter

17h15 – The General Secretary of COSATU comrade Bheki Ntshalintshali is at the podium now acknowledging guests.

17h20 – President of COSATU, comrade Sidumo Dlamini is leading the congress with a song.

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17H30 Now is the presidential speech

“We want to thank all our members all the country for remaining firm and for keeping the flag flying high, even during the most difficult times in our organisation you were never shaken, you stood firm and occupying the front ranks in defense of their federation”.

“We have come here to continue with the work of building a federation that must remain occupied with broad social and political issues, as well as the immediate concerns of its members to the need of stability and national development without subordinating each to the other “.

Read Speech 

18h30 – President just finished with his speech now, the congress is now officially opened

Discussions on nominations still on.

18h50 – The arrival of the President of South Africa Jacob Zuma is welcomed by singing delegates

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19h20 – President of Cosatu is at the podium now, welcoming the President of the ANC Jacob Zuma

19h50 – President of the ANC Jacob Zuma is delivering his speech

JZ speech (word doc)

JZ photos

20h15 – Jacob Zuma President of the ANC was leading the congress in a song, ending his speech to the COSATU 12th National Congress.

Now delegates singing songs of praise as he made his way out of the Congress.

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20h45 – The chairperson, comrade James Tyotyo adjourned the congress for the day until tomorrow morning at 09h00

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08h30 – Delegates on Day two of the Cosatu Congress entering the Gallagher Convention Centre

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09h30 – 12th Cosatu National Congress is entering its second day of its workers’ parliament. Delegates are making way into the main hall where the proceeding are held.


10h00 – 2nd Deputy President of COSATU Zingiswa Losi has now opened today’s proceedings by calling onto the stage Acting General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali to take the house through the political report.

“This 12th National Congress marks the 30th years of firm, unbroken and uncompromising fight by our colossal federation which up to this day remains at the foreheads of workers’struggle. In 1985 at our lauching Congress, we had a membership of 500 000 drawn from 33 affiliates. At this 12th national Congress we have 1.9 million members drawn from 18 affiliated unions”

10h30 – Now on the platform is given to SANCO. Comrade Skhumbuzo Mpanza, Secretary -General of SANCO is delivering his speech to the house. His opening remarks gives acknowledgement to the inputs made yesterday by both Presidents of COSATU and ANC.

speech  (sanco)

11H00 – IEC just made an announcement that the elections to fill the position of the Deputy General Secretary will be conducted tomorrow. As to when the election will be conducted, that will be communicated during the course of the day.

11h10 – Now on the podium is comrade Blade Nzimande, General-Secretary of SACP is delivering his speech to the house.


speech  (word doc)

12h00 – Comrade Blade Nzimande just wrapped up his speech and the house is ablaze with singing in unison and jubilation is in the air. The leadership was one with the house in singing songs of worker struggles.

12h05 – President of COSATU is now on the stage, extending his gratitude on behalf of the federation to both comrade Blade Nzimande of the SACP and Skhumbuzo Mpanza from SANCO.

12H10 – Comrade chairperson, 2nd Deputy President of COSATU have opened the political discussion on the political report. First round of unions had been noted to start the discussion.

12h30 – Political report discussion still on with affiliates engaging vigorously and yet peacefully. Unions are taking turns in voicing their thoughts on political and socio-economic issues that are affecting workers.

13h15 – Workers’parliament is adjourned…and the session will continue after lunch.

14h45 – Chairperson is on the podium, calling up individuals who stand to receive awards. The awards will be handed to the individuals by the President of COSATU.

The Cuban Five will also be awarded too. who are they?

The Cuban Five, also known as the Miami Five (Gerardo Hernández, Antonio Guerrero, Ramón Labañino, Fernando González, and René González

President of COSATU is now handing over the award to Chavez and the CUBAN 5 which are received on their behalf by their respective representatives.

photos (Lady for Chavez, Guy for Cuban 5)

Also equally important was the recognition of Cosatu and affiliates long serving staff members. AMANDLA!

15H15 – At the moment the house is listening to Minister of Economic Development comrade Patel’s speech talking to aspects of the economic crisis, touching on industries of the economy.

Key Focus Areas:

1. Infrastructure Development

2. Industrialisation

3. Investment: Public and Private

4. Innovation: new products

5. Inclusion: workers, SMEs

6. Integration: Africa

7. institutions: state and unions

These are some of the areas highlighted for intervention

With these focused areas, comrade Patel (Minister of Economic Development) closed his speech

16h15 – The house is now reverting back and continuing with political report. Unions are taking to the podium to engage on the report and discuss matters of critical importance.

Political report discussion session is still on…

photos (exhibition mall)

20h00 – Now the political report discussions are winding down to closure. Comrade Bheki Ntshalintshali is on the podium making announcements.

The congress is now closing and the discussions will resumes tomorrow as per programme of the congress.

20h10 – The Congress was officially closed for the day

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8h00 – 10h00 – Day three of COSATU 12th National Congress cracked the sunrise with songs and show of unity and cohesion, with Sidumo Dlamini leading the mighty Red delegates in a revolutionary song.

10h00 – Today’s congress is chaired by comrade Sidumo Dlamini. He opened the congress by reminding the delegates that today marks the beginning of campaigns against Women, Children and People with Disabilities.

“we commit ourselves as COSATU to protect women, children and people with disabilities”.

10h10 – Now Minister of Labour Mildred Olifant is delivering her speech to the house.

She ended her speech and received the COSATU blanket as a symbol of respect and appreciated by the workers.

photos (Minister of Labour)

11h10 – The Minister’s address was followed by George Mavrikos (General Secretary of WFTU). The delegates welcomed him to the stage with songs of praise.

“On behalf of WFTU, I would like to thank COSATU and workers of South Africa for inviting us to this colossal workers’parliament.”

Comrade George Mavrikos extended his acknowledgement by mentioning the stalwarts such as comrade Moses Mabhida and others, saluting them for their unforgettable contribution to the people of south Africa.

“During his speech he emphasized on the aim of the foreign interventions aiming to paralyze the workers’ movement in South Africa in order to exploit the natural wealth of the country and officially announced that the 17th WFTU Congress will be held in S. Africa hosted by COSATU and all other WFTU affiliates.

In an honorary move, on behalf of the WFTU leadership, the WFTU delegation awarded comrade Eric (Stalin) Mtshali for his contribution in the development of the class-oriented movement” click here for WFTU website

1st Deputy president handed him the COSATU blanket as a symbolic gesture of appreciation and respect.

photos  (WFTU GS)

11h50 – The next international solidarity speech was from PUDEMO, warmly relayed to the Congress by its president, Mario Masuku.

“Viva COSATU Viva”

“Viva ANC Viva”

“Viva SACP Viva”

“Viva SANCO Viva”

“I like to acknowledge and thank international guest and all south Africa workers”.International solidarity remains a key pillar and COSATU is making it possible.

“we seeking the unbanning of all political parties in Swaziland”

“we seeking unconditional release of all political prisoners”

“we seek unconditional stop to the violent attacks on trade unions”

Ended his speech with thanking COSATU and people of South Africa for the support given to the struggle in Swaziland.

Insert photos here (Mario Masuku)

12h50 – IEC on stage to brief the house on the procedure and rules to be observed during the election. Only the position of deputy General Secretary is being contested. As for the rest of the leadership positions were not contested.

13h25 – International addresses continued with OATO pledging its solidarity and support, wishing COSATU a good National Congress.

“OATO supports South Africa throughout its workers struggles”

He was also honoured with a COSATU blanket as a symbol of respect and appreciation.

13h30 – Congress adjourned or lunch

14h45– Congressed resumed with president opening by leading delegates with a song

House in session on resolutions…

[/su_tab] [su_tab title=”26 November 2015: Day Four”]

8h00 – 10h00 – arrival of delegates at the venue of the congress, the last day of the workers’ parliament, it is marked by singing and dancing.

10h00 – Comrade James Tyotyo is chairing the proceedings of the congress and he officially opens the house by reminding that the business of the day will start with items not finished last night.

To recap, last night the congress adjourned and call it a day and agreed to commence with business today. The discussions will resume with the discussions on resolutions of the congress.

Resolutions –“These are agreed programme of actions that the congress adopt to be guiding beacons of the work of the federation in fulfilling its mandate”
10h50 – Comrade Willington Chibebe, deputy General-Secretary of ITUC is now on stage to deliver a message of solidarity to the COSATU National Congress.

He touches on continental social and economic issues, leaning very hard on the capitalist structures perpetuating this kind of anti social ills.

He sternly pleaded for a continuation of concerted efforts by the working class in waging class struggles against the barbaric structures of doom, that are always pressing down the attempts by workers to all improve their standard of living.

COSATU Treasurer, comrade Freda Oosthuysen presented him with COSATU blanket as a symbol of respect and appreciation.

11h15 – Congress resumes with discussions…

14h50 – Congress still in session. It seeks now to finalize the discussions on resolutions.

15h30 – In all matters raised and deadlocked, the house applied democratic principles and put those issues to vote ad the procedure was undertaken professionally by Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The majority of the congress voted for a united COSATU and accepted its decisions taken in all affairs and matters that it faced in the last couple of months.

video (delegates singing)

16h00 – Now the Congress is on financial report. The COSATU Treasurer, Freda Oosthuysen is on stage to present the financials of the federation.

Affiliates are given a chance to raise issues on the financials of the federations.

16h30 – The Congress is now going through the declaration. Comrade Bheki Ntshalintshali is taking the house through the declaration.

declaration (word doc)

“The declaration will be the compass and guideline for all affiliates, shop-stewards and members of the union, in carrying out the mandate of the 12th National Elective Congress”. Cosatu Acting-GS

17h00 – IEC on stage with results from the elections conducted yesterday for the position of Deputy General Secretary and are as follows:

Results read announced

President: Sdumo Dlamini (Not contested)

1st Deputy President: James Tyotyo (Not contested)

2nd Deputy President: Zingiswa Losi (Not contested)

General Secretary: Bheki Ntshalintshali (Not contest)

New Deputy General Secretary: Solly Phetoe

photo (new leadership carried to stage)

17h44 – President officially closed the congress…

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