[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 12th National Congress” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
Held from 23rd – 26th November 2015 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand
We, the more than 2,500 voting delegates to this 12th National Congress of COSATU gathered in Midrand, Johannesburg and celebrating our unbroken 30 fighting years, declare for all our country and the world to know, that our trade unions are emerging from this congress under the banner of COSATU more united and determined to build our giant, militant and class-oriented federation for all the workers of our country and the struggles ahead.
Our congress took place in the year of the 60th anniversaries of the Freedom Charter and the founding of our forerunner, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). We represent 1,9 million workers across a wide-range of sectors in the South African economy, and are drawn from all the provinces of our country, from urban centres and countryside, under the theme: Unity and Cohesion of COSATU to advance the National Democratic Revolution. We draw strength and inspiration from the messages of support from our allies, the African National Congress, the South African Community Party and the South African National Civic Organisation, as well as from the World Federation of Trade Unions, the International Trade Union Confederation and all our esteemed guests, to forge ahead with more determination to meet the challenges facing our members and the working class as a whole.
Our 12th National Congress has placed us in an advantageous position, to see the real challenges confronting us clearer.
We declare for all to know that as unions organised under the banner of COSATU, we have put our divisions behind us so that we are able to confront our real class enemies as a united force!
We are forging ahead on the path of the mandate given by our Special national Congress this year to deepen and consolidate the unity and cohesion of the federation, based on an understanding that COSATU’s unity is sacrosanct!
We are preparing to heighten our struggles in all fronts. Clear that none other than the working class itself will take forward its struggles, advance and defend its interests and aspirations, we commit to fight to the bitter end for that which belongs to the workers and the working class as a whole. In this regard we will continue to strengthen the socialist axis of our alliance and ensure that the alliance as a whole is reconfigured to function optimally in pursuit of our shared historical missions.
We appreciate the fact that we are conducting our struggle under conditions which are not of our own choosing. Our struggle is being waged in a period of persisting systemic crisis of global capitalism and a world that is ever more afflicted by imperialist aggression and imperialist inspired terrorist atrocities.
The unfolding global capitalist system’s multiple-crises underscore the insights of Vladimir Lenin, that the epoch of imperialism is one which “is relatively much more violent, spasmodic, disastrous and conflicting, an epoch which for the mass of the population is typified not so much by a ‘horror without end’ as by a ‘horrible end ”.
The Middle East , the Arab Penensula and North Africa a region which at the time of our last congress was overflowing with hope in the wake of the inspiring mass uprisings, has now exploded into a theatre of war, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Israeli’s aggression against the people of Palestine has also worsened. The hellish banditry of ISIS and the predatory imperialist schemes of regime-change orchestrated by Western imperialism have slaughtered thousands of people and turned millions into refugees.
The glaring fundamental feature of imperialism during this period of global economic crisis is its continued ability to respond in a manner which bolsters the ideological existence of capitalism whilst at the same time heightens its offensive by shifting the burden of the economic crisis on to the working class.
The centralization and concentration of capital and wealth; the financialisation of the economy; the systematic attack on the social functions of the state; the attacks on international law and sovereignty of the states; the monopolization of the world’s political power by a few, imperialist states, build on the foundation of economic concentration again for a few in those countries; the strategies of militarization of international relations, are features of capitalist policies that dominate most countries all over the world today.
The dominance of imperialism has come with the heightening offensive against the working class which expresses itself in government policies all over the world which include cuts in real wages; intensification of of work and associated retrenchments; deregulation and increase in working hours; deregulation of labour relations; widespread casual labour, particularly among the women and young workers; over-exploitation of migrant workers; appropriation of labour productivity gains by capital; cuts in pensions and retirement benefits; increase in unemployment rates; regression of social and labour rights; and the denial of the right to bargain collectively and to strike.
Here at home, part of this offensive also manifests itself through liberal commentators, bourgeois economists and their like in the political fold who have fabricated a baseless allegation against our progressive trade union movement. They say our unions are narrowly concerned only with the interests and aspirations of the employed workers without regard to the unemployed. We will not allow this neoliberal tirade and false divide to succeed in its intention – which is to divide and rule the workers for ever, deepen exploitation and maximise profit at the expense of the working class as a whole, both employed and unemployed.
As COSATU, we will not allow to be confused and blackmailed by bourgeois ideologies and the false consciousness that has gripped certain sections of our society and some in our own broad movement post-1994. Inequality, unemployment and poverty have not been invented and are not being reproduced by workers and trade unions. Inequality, unemployment and poverty are the necessary conditions and products for the existence of the capitalist system of exploitation and are used by the capitalist class to lower wages and cut back on workers’ hard-won gains. This is the reason why the capitalist class, its ideologues and sympathisers are calling on our trade unions to “moderate” wage demands (the youth wage subsidy as one of many an examples), reduce the protections and hard-won gains of the workers.
The fortunes of the rich and the super-rich have soared, while social inequality has reached unprecedented levels as a result of the vast appropriation of wealth from the bottom to the top. Far from resolving the contradictions that have manifested themselves, capitalism has exacerbated the problem of global poverty and inequality.
Our own continent, Africa, has not been spared the scourge of the destabilising imperialist ploys and horrors of terrorism. In this regard we pledge solidarity with the peoples of West and East Africa who are under siege from terrorist attacks.
We also reaffirm our solidarity with the struggling peoples of Swaziland and Western Sahara.
We are angry that more than one trillion dollars flowed illicitly out of Africa in the past 30 years, dwarfing capital inflows, and stifling economic development. Equally, we note with anger that around 14 African countries are still obliged by France through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserves into the French Central Bank. These countries still pay a colonial debt and those who refuse are either killed or become victims of a coup. On the other hand, those African elites, the comprador bourgeoisie, who obey are rewarded by France with lavish lifestyles while their people endure extreme poverty and desperation.
We are angry that poverty stubbornly persists on the African continent in the midst of massive natural wealth, which is estimated by the UN Economic Commission for Africa as including 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 42 percent of its gold, 80 to 90 percent of chromium and platinum group metals and 60 percent of arable land.
Combined with neo-colonial land grabs, rampant mineral extraction, corruption and elicit outflows of billions of dollars, more and more people of our continent find themselves trapped in sprawling slums and haunted by the spectre of avoidable diseases and death.
As a response to this imperialist offensive, the countries of the South have responded by mobilising themselves into a bloc constituted in the main by China, Asia, Africa and some countries in Latin America. These countries have presented themselves as an alternative engine of growth and development for the world economy and as an anti -thesis to the USA and European based growth and development models. However, even these inspiring developments are currently being threatened by counter revolution and are facing aggressive imperialist schemes to roll them back. This is despite the formalisation of the diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA.
The determination of imperialist counter-revolution is underscored by the continuation of the criminal economic blockade against Cuba and Obama’s executive order declaring Venezuela as an“extraordinary and unusual threat to the national security of the United States”.
Nonetheless, we note with admiration the indomitable resolve of the peoples of South America in their resistance and defence of their gains. As ever, we pledge solidarity with them, especially with the Cuban revolution whose outstanding heroes visited our country earlier this year. We pledge solidarity with the Bolivarian people’s republic of Venezuela who is facing a counter revolution aimed at reversing the gains of the people’s revolution
On our part, we are convinced that unless we study and draw lessons from experiences of this region, including on the clandestine role imperialist agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) play in stoking the so-called civil society, our own revolution is doomed.
We have also noted the current changes taking place in Cuba’s economy and will be undertaking a study tour to the country in order to properly understand these developments from firsthand experience. We have confidence that these changes will not compromise the fundamental principles of Socialism.
We also instruct the CEC to ensure that part of this should include conducting a study of the BRICS countries the Latin American countries with a view to gaining a deeper understanding of the political and economic developments that are currently taking place there.
Part of this task will include building campaign based relations with the trade union movement and parties of the left in the BRICS countries.
We note that despite massive injection of fictitious money, increasing rate of exploitation, austerity programmes, and sustained offensive against trade unions, mass retrenchments, mergers and acquisitions – global economic growth remains basically stagnant in the face of the lack of channels for productive and profitable investment and surplus absorption. In turn, this crisis-ridden trajectory of capitalism has plunged our planet into a morass of unprecedented ecological destruction. Never before in the history of humanity has our world come so close to obliteration.
Therefore, we emerge from this congress fully conscious of the fact that the balance of class forces internationally remains decisively in favour of monopoly capital. This is also reflected at the level of the world order, which despite the emergence of the China-led BRICS, NATO and G7 countries continue to enjoy strategic advantages of control of global financial markets, natural resources, advance technology, media and communication monopolies as well as the monopoly of weapons of mass destruction.
Despite all of this, we note that more and more people, especially workers in western imperialist countries, are increasingly challenging the dominant neo-liberal paradigm. Organised workers are increasingly gaining confidence to defend their jobs, public services and to fight against trade and investment agreements designed in favour of monopoly capital. Hence, as we move towards the affiliation of COSATU to WFTU, we remain committed to the realisation of our lofty ideal of worldwide unity of the organised workers. With all its limitations, we welcome the adoption of the Africa Vision 2063 Programme, on which we commit to work with the African trade union movement and other progressive forces, to ensure that it becomes a genuine programme of thoroughgoing democratic revolution in our continent.
Like much of Africa, the South African economy continues to suffer from the fall in commodity prices, weak demand from China and Europe and capital market volatility, including the sharp depreciation of the Rand, as a result of the prospects of interest rate hike in the USA. The persisting global capitalist crisis continues to heavily weigh down on the South African economy as reflected in the spectre of massive job-destruction and closures that is stalking mining and steel industries in particular. Whilst we appreciate the range of interventions undertaken in terms of the NGP and IPAP by the ANC government as presented to congress by the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, as COSATU we believe that much more must be done in addressing the crises of mass unemployment, poverty and increasing inequality.
Much more must be done in transforming the colonial structure of the South African economy and forging an industrialisation-led growth path. As Mao Zedong said, “colonial forms of capitalist exploitation transfer surplus value to the metropolis and hinder the development of productive forces.” Thus, congress calls on government to undertake more decisive interventions to stem the unfolding de-industrialisation and job losses from imports. Furthermore, congress calls on government to impose capital controls to stem the tide of capital flight, including the rejection of the SABMiller-AB Inberv merger. Thus, we reaffirm our policy framework, A New Growth Path towards Full-employment which places at the centre a comprehensive set of policy proposals for decent jobs, industrialisation, nationalisation, economic redistribution and regional integration.
We note that despite our call in 2013, supported by the SACP, for the “redrafting and fundamental overhaul of the core economic chapter of the NDP and the appreciation by the Alliance of the need for further engagement, the ANC government has, since last year, begun to implement elements of these, especially on macroeconomic policy. We view this as part of the hallmarks of Treasury’s unilateralism, as reflected in the introduction of the Employment Incentive Tax Act, the freezing of vacant posts in the public service, e-tolls, moves to introduce preservation of provident funds and many others.
Therefore, as COSATU, we resolve to file a Section 77 Notice urgently in the next few days before it can be passed into law . If necessary this action would be escalated into rolling mass action until this unilateralism is stopped. In this regard, we pledge to build on this year’s National Day of Action, to mobilise our members around the following issues:
- The neo-liberal macroeconomic policies that undermine industrialisation and job-creation;
- Retrenchments, outsourcing and casualization;
- Immediate engagement on a comprehensive social security system;
- Imposition wealth tax;
- Introduction of minimum wage;
- Banning of labour broking;
- Affordable, reliable, accessible and safe public transport and a stop to the expansion of the Gautrain service. This include the scrapping of e-tolls; and
We know that we cannot mount a successful counter offensive against imperialism, monopoly capital and threats inherently internal and within, if we do not have a strong organisation grounded within the workers. Our refuge is amongst the people. Our strength remains to be rooted amongst the toiling masses of our people.
On this year of the 30th anniversary of COSATU, congress reasserts our time-tested founding principles of one union, one industry, one country, one federation! Paid up membership, international worker solidarity, worker control, unity of workers, non-racialism and democratic centralism. From its founding congress, COSATU has remarkably grown from strength to strength across a wide-range of sectors of the economy, different strata of workers, in membership, organisationally and ideologically. Despite the shortcomings that congress identified, we remain the best organised and class conscious giant federation of the South African workers.
In 1985 at our launching Congress, we had a membership of 500 000 drawn from thirty-three (33) affiliates. At this 12th National Congress we have 1, 9 million members drawn from eighteen (18) affiliated unions.
Yet despite our phenomenal development since our founding congress , our lodestar of One Union, One Industry, One Country, One Federation! remains elusive.
In South Africa, we remain with a highly fragmented trade union movement, yet an overwhelming majority of workers are unorganised especially in the private sector. Hence for more than half of all the workers, their wage and conditions of work are solely determined by the employer. This is more so amongst the youth, women, community care workers, domestic workers and foreign nationals, who tend to make the bigger proportion of the vulnerable sections of the labour force. Indeed, congress directs all affiliates to develop and implement programmes targeting these categories of workers, programmes to increase membership and participation in our activities by coloured, Indian and white workers and programmes to improve our presence in sectors such as catering, wholesale, hotel, cleaning and private security.
Within our own ranks, we acknowledge that we are still far from consolidating our organisational power in terms of the implementation of our resolutions on mergers and building super-unions. Instead a few of our affiliates from time to time slide backward to a tendency of competing with others instead of practicing solidarity, of extending organisational scopes instead of merging with others and of poaching of the membership of others instead of recruiting scores of unorganised workers. Thus, congress sends a message to all affiliates of COSATU, that the South African workers are under siege in the face of escalating offensive by employers and the crisis of capitalism.
That the advanced component of these workers, which is found in our federation is itself on the receiving end of an unprecedented scale of an offensive by the bourgeois media, ultra-left forces and imperialism. Therefore, in the period ahead we are more than ever called upon to consolidate our unity and cohesion and to defend all our affiliates and membership base. We are called upon to build strong workplace organisation, build class consciousness and close the distance between our members, their union and leadership. In line with our principle of “one union, one industry”, all affiliates are called upon to stop extending scopes and poaching members of COSATU unions.
The consolidation of unity, cohesion and organisational power means that we must move with speed to implement the resolution of the 11th congress that was adopted by the February 2013 CEC on mergers and the demarcation of scopes. This we shall do as part of returning to the outcomes of our 2013 Collective Bargaining, Organising and Campaigns Conference, whose organisational tasks, combined with the resolutions of this 12th congress shall be part of the Organisational Building and Development Programme of our new medium-term strategic plan, building on what we have achieved in terms of the 2015 Plan.
We emerge from this congress more convinced than ever that our COSATU must remain grounded on the traditions of strong shop floor organisation and militant struggles for worker rights, collective bargaining and power; activism; democratic organisation controlled by workers and based on campaigns and mobilisation; incorporation of broader social issues and interests into our programme, thus building alliances with community organisations, with the political movement and with intellectuals, etc .
This programme shall be part of our Back to Basic Campaign. As our Special National Congress directed, this means that “in keeping with the true traditions of our federation, we will initiate a process of deeply looking at ourselves; we will study how affiliates and COSATU structures operate in practice. And that this must be with the view to subsequently elaborating and enriching the content of our Back to Basics perspective”. To ensure success, at the centre of this shall be the review of the effectiveness of our existing organisational machinery at all levels, with a view of establishing the kind of organisational engines and capacity of cadreship that would be best positioned to meet the tasks of the pillar of Organisational Building and Development Programme. This includes, the COSATU Locals as basic structures that are closest to members and that are indispensable in the mobilisation of members and in implementing the federation’s campaigns.
The 12th National Congress observed with concern that despite the advances made in the past 21 years, the high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality remains unresolved and these affects blacks in general and Africans in particular. . The international trend of worsening unemployment and poverty reflects the reality in South Africa. We are angry that in our country we remain confronted with a reality that more than 7.6 million people are without employment. The South African economic policy is still based on the neo-liberal paradigm which remains dominant in driving government’s economic policy.
The neo-liberal economic principles and philosophies continue to dominate the practice and articulation of policy. This is based on a belief that growth must occur first, and then employment will follow. And that once employment increases, the distribution of income will improve. This is reflected in the persistent setting of growth targets as the primary focus, rather than targets for employment and income distribution.
It fails to address the colonial and apartheid fundamental contradictions that resulted in the white monopoly capital taking charge and ownership of the economic levers of powers while the black majority remains enslaved in waged labour. Our economy remains highly monopolised and foreign owned. It is still largely in the hands of a white minority. Unfortunately, this neo-liberal ideology has captured some elements within the state and the democratic movement, who though aware of the harsh but failed medicine of neo-liberalism, have still gone ahead to impose it on society.
Neo-liberalism by nature is contradictory. It promotes both political pluralism and authoritarianism on questions of economic policy and management.
Neo-liberalism survives and thrives under conditions of low-intensity democracy and insulates political leaders from popular pressure so that they can drive un-popular economic policies.
It is against this background that those deployed by the movement in government have over the years abandoned the people driven and people centred approach to development. It is in this context that the structures of the movement remain in disarray with the focus being on narrow electoral processes.
It is unacceptable that when we ask to be given a comprehensive social security and retirement reform discussion paper, which government has failed to deliver for more than ten years, we get given the Taxation Laws Amendment Act. And when we take this process to NEDLAC government represented by the National Treasury abandons the engagements to pursue its planned retirement reforms unilaterally.
We want to reiterate that this arrogant act of provocation by government represented by the National Treasury will get an appropriate and equal response from the workers. Workers will fight any attempts to impose the compulsory preservation of our hard earned deferred wages.
We want to say here and now that there will be no compulsory preservation or any other imposed reforms for us and about us without us, on our watch.
We will spare no effort to stop this tyranny and ill placed overconfidence by the neo liberal hard liners in government concentrated in the National Treasury.
No government has a right to unilaterally decide for workers, as to how and when they should spend their retirement savings. These savings are part of worker’s hard-earned salaries and should be accessible to the workers, as and when they need them in particular in the absence of comprehensive social security.
It is clear that with all these challenges as the working class and particularly as COSATU cannot afford the luxury of continuing to fight against each other.
We therefore declare that from this Congress we will stop fighting amongst ourselves and direct our energies and resources to heighten our struggle and consolidate our unity against our primary class enemies, the white monopoly capital. This congress has set the tone that we must continue with the tradition of robust and frank engagement regarding our organisation and the struggles of the working class and to do so using the platform of our constitutional structures and within the parameters of our constitution
We accept that the Alliance remains the only vehicle available to advance a second more radical phase of the National Democratic Revolution. Alliance resolutions which advance the interests of the working class only remains on paper and are not translated to funded government programmes. Our voice must matter in the Alliance. It is not acceptable that when we call for the reviewal of the employment incentive act or the youth wage subsidy no one wants to listen!
We reiterate our call for a total ban of labour broking and re-affirm that will intensify our struggle on the ground for a final push for the total elimination of this modern day slavery.
We want an Alliance which collectively develops policy in line with our vision in the Freedom charter, which collectively monitors implementation of policy, which collectively decides on deployment, and which can call ministers to account.
We want an Alliance where partners are treated as equals!
We want a reconfigured Alliance which is at the centre of driving the National Democratic Revolution!
We want an Alliance which practices the Mass Line as the “primary method of revolutionary leadership of the masses. The mass line means to start with the diverse ideas of the masses, and return the concentrated ideas to the masses. This is also known as the method of “from the masses, to the masses”.
We want the Alliance to be led by the ANC whose perspective is based on an understanding that “in contrast to many old-style nationalist movements in Africa, we believe that there can be no true national liberation without social emancipation.. To postpone advocacy of this perspective until the first stage of democratic power has been achieved is to risk dominance within our revolution by purely nationalist forces which may see themselves as replacing the white exploiters at the time of the people’s victory”.
We want the alliance to be led by an ANC which understands that the strategic objectives of the National Democratic Revolution is to resolve three interrelated contradictions of racial domination , gender oppression and class exploitation . These interrelate d contradictions have not been resolved yet and therefore the entirety of the congress movement have not yet arrived!
Our shared understanding is that the NDR is our most direct and uninterrupted route to Socialism. In consolidating the NDR by strengthening people’s power in action we lay a solid foundation for a Socialist society. The tasks of the NDR do not work against a possibility for socialism. Hence we commit to struggle against the notion that the main task of the NDR is to merely manage the three interrelated primary contradictions of racial domination, gender oppression and class without ensuring qualitative advances for the working class and the poor.
The misplaced notion that all our movement stands for whilst it is non capitalist is to consolidate a capitalist path must fearlessly be fought and defeated.
There is neither ‘Chinese wall’ nor contradiction between the task to construct the so called “National Democratic Society” and the struggle for a Socialist South Africa. In the same way as the Bourgeoisie Society which emerged from the Feudal Society, the Socialist and communist society will emerge from the Bourgeoisie Society as we have seen in many parts of the world. As comrade Mao put it that “Changes in society are due chiefly to the development of the internal contradictions in society, that is, the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between classes and the contradiction between the old and the new; it is the development of these contradictions that pushes society forward and gives the impetus for the supersession of the old society by the new”.
We will fight to have an Alliance which is conscious that the primary task in this phase of our transition is to resolve the colonial and apartheid contradictions based on radical economic transformation.
We want an alliance which is led by the ANC that understands and accept in practice the leading role of the working class as a primary motive force in the National Democratic Revolution. We want an ANC which accept and understand that the working class has the enduring organisational power, occupies a strategic location within the productive force, suffers the most from both exploitation and domination, and has made the most sacrifices to advance the revolution.
We want the Alliance to be led by an ANC which accept and understand that as the organised detachment of the working class, located strategically at the point of production, we are not just an interest group or just another NGO in the revolution but we constitute the most powerful motive force of our revolution.
We shall act consciously to ensure that the leading role of the working class in our revolution is won on the ground through visible campaigns based on our political and Socio- Economic demands.
We will go beyond seeking to secure agreements in meetings about the content of radical economic transformation but the content of radical economic transformation shall be defined through heated struggles based on our political and socio – economic demands.
We shall work to ensure that we strengthen the South African Communist Party to lead the struggle for socialism.
We note the right wing offensive which has been directed against the leadership of our communist party as an attempt to mute and weaken the SACP. We will defend our communist party and its leadership with everything we have!
We, the delegates to this 12th National Congress hereby declare that ideologically we remain a militant and radical trade union movement that wants the country to move towards a socialism.
The Alliance remains a critical vehicle towards the attainment of the NDR. We will defend the Alliance with all that we have and will ensure that it remains united and coherent and that it must advance our needs as the workers.
It is in this regard we want to call on the SACP to expedite the process of its commission to look into contesting state power in the very near future. The SACP remains the political vehicle of the working class and the workers in particular, it is incumbent upon us to defend it against the emerging anti-communist sentiments and attacks on the General Secretary by a faction within the movement.
Concerned that the ANC faces internal factional battles and fixation with leadership contest, as the strategic ally, COSATU calls on the ANC to maintain its established tradition and practice regarding succession of leadership.
Building on the spirit of our Special National Congress with regard to the scourge of business unionism, we shall systematically develop binding policy frameworks, which must address challenges arising from our investment arms, union-linked retirement funds, procurement of goods and services and fund raising.
In the immediate period ahead, we undertake that our organisation building programmes and campaigns shall include:
- Political Programme
- To wage campaigns on the ground and to work with the Alliance partners to strengthen and reconfigure the Alliance to drive the National Democratic Revolution
- To strengthen the socialist axis under the leadership of the SACP to advance in a programmatic way the struggle for socialism. This will also include participating in the SACP process towards a decision on how it will relate to electoral politics in the future guided. by our 9th Congress resolution and the SACPs 12th National Congress and its Special National Congress resolution in this regard
- As part of the task to develop political consciousness, we will run joint programme with the SACP focusing in ideological training of our leaders and members.
- We will make resources available to mobilise for the overwhelming victory of the ANC in the forthcoming local government election
- To openly contest and defend the centrality of the working class as the primary motive force in the NDR. This will also include openly contesting and defending the working class biasness and the mass based character of the ANC through visible programmes on the ground.
- To develop programmes aimed at linking mass power and state power
- Fight against the killing of the Police and attacks directed at public servants : We have noted with anger the continued killing of the police and merciless attacks directed at public servants and civilians which happens with impunity. We have seen nurses and teachers raped and physically attacked at work and in our view all these are intended to undermine the state and the security establishment of the country . We are worried that the state security capacity continues to be dwarfed by the capacity of private security firms who are three times more resourced and more armed than the state security agencies. What is even more worrying is that these are foreign owned and remain unregulated . We will heighten our campaign in defence of the police and public servants. We call on government to impose strict regulatory measured against private security firms. Police killings should be treated as treason!
- On Imperialism
- As COSATU we pledge to work with the Alliance and other progressive and internationalist formations in our country, to embark on mass protest actions to oppose the USA-led wars of regime-change in the middle-east, Latina America and Africa.
- This would include engagement with fraternal trade unions in countries that are affected, in order to develop closer relations and to understand the concrete realities in their countries.
- On Latin America
- COSATU undertakes to strengthen our bilateral relations with the Cuban trade union federation, CTC and its affiliates. Thus, as part of our solidarity with the Cuban revolution, we shall continue to mount protest actions against the criminal economic blockade imposed by the USA on Cuba.
- Similarly, we shall establish relationship with the Venezuelan trade union movement with the view of developing a campaign in support of the Bolivarian revolution and its defence against US sponsored ploy of regime change.
- On Neo-liberalism
- We note that global monopoly capital is using multilateral and bilateral trade agreements and partnerships to impose and lock countries within the Neoliberal development framework in order to prevent alternative development paths.
Therefore, as COSATU we shall work with the broader international trade union movement to fight for the transformation of multilateral institutions such as the WTO and against all such trade agreements and partnerships.
- Transforming the Labour Market
- Strengthening Workplace Struggles: Strengthening workers capacity to take up work place struggles. This must be done through amongst others exposing corruption at the workplace , acting against racism in the workplace , Listening and acting on issues raised by workers , a focus on women’s struggles in the workplace , making progressive labour laws serve workers etc.
- Defending our hard-won labour rights: Part of this should include campaigns against threats on our right to strike and to defend collective Bargaining and demand expansion of centralised bargaining across sectors, to attack and call for the withdrawal of the Taxation Amendment Act of 2013 which is aimed at taking away the right of workers to decide on how to spend their deferred salaries.
- National Day of Action : to ensure mmobilisation towards annual national National Day of Action focusing on the National Minimum wage ,transformation of the economy , , abolition of Apartheid wage structure , transformation in education etc.
- Ban Labour Brokers: We shall heighten the campaign for the total banning of labour brokers now!. This campaign shall include our demand on Equal pay for work of equal value! We will not accept any form of blackmail including convenient and right wing interpretation of the constitution which places the right to trade above labour rights. Labour brokers are not involved in any form of productive activity nor do they add any value in the creation of jobs. No economy shall grow on the basis of slavery!
- Campaign against Youth Wage Subsidy: to demand the scrapping of the Youth Employment Incentives in favour of a comprehensive youth employment strategy. Noting that majority of Youth Wage Subsidy funds have gone to labour brokers. COSATU must file a section 77 at NEDLAC declaring its opposition to the youth wage subsidy and calling for its end .
- Transformation in Education
- We applaud SASCO for leading the struggle for Free Education in South Africa. This is the struggle which must be taken to its logical conclusion. In this regard working with the PYA, the Education Alliance, and the federation will convene a meeting to take forward the broad based struggles on the education crisis and the realisation of free education. This will be linked to a programme focusing on the transformation of basic education and the expansion of vocational education and training.
- The Department of basic Education must respect the agreement it reached with educators to postpone the implementation of Annual National Assessments. We will work with SADTU to strengthen and heighten the campaign to reject the Annual National Assessments (ANA) in their current form, because they are not in the best interests of learners and will do nothing to improve the quality of education. At the centre of this campaign shall be to force employers to respect collective bargaining. The Department of Basic Education has joined the national treasury in the art of displaying arrogance against workers demands and to undermine existing collection agreements. We call on the DBE to reverse their decision to proceed with the implementation of Annual National Assessments in the current form.
- To convene an urgent education summit which will on amongst others address issues relating to the realisation of free education, transformation of the curriculum, availability of resources in our schools etc.
- Fighting Corruption in our ranks and in Society Generally
- To lead a campaign exposing corruption in the private and public sectors and call for decisive punitive action against perpetrators. The current framework is not hard hitting enough against offenders in the public sector .It allows business to pay their way out and go away with murder as in the cases of collusion as exposed by the competition commission. We demand the strengthening of the legal framework so that responsible company executives can face prosecution.
- Building on the spirit of our Special National Congress with regard to the scourge of business unionism, we shall systematically develop binding policy frameworks, which must address challenges arising from our investment arms, union-linked retirement funds, procurement of goods and services and fund raising.
- Struggle for radical Economic Transformation
- We will launch a radical campaign against privatisation which goes beyond section 77 based protests but a a protest action which will include rolling mass action.
- We call for the convening of an Alliance Economic Summit to discuss issues relating to policy differences in the Alliance including on the concerns we raised with the SACP on the economic and labour Market sections in the NDP.
- Launch a campaign demanding the implementation of the National Health Insurance now!
Each one of our affiliates commits to deploy all resources, time and energy towards the implementation of these resolutions.
This declaration and the resolutions taken by this 12th session of the workers parliament shall remain the compass and a guide to action for every affiliate, every shop steward, every organiser and every member in every workplace,
We call on all our members to rally behind the directives contained in this declaration and the corresponding Resolutions.
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU Special National Congress 2015″ open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
14 August 2015
The Congress of South African Trade Unions held a historic Special National Congress from the 13th – 14th July 2015, at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, attended by 2477 delegates representing more than 1, 9 million members .
This Special National Congress was convened to confront and address the challenges of Unity and Cohesion currently facing the federation. This also included issues on leadership.
This Special National Congress took place following a successful Alliance Summit and the Special National Congress of the SACP which dealt with the challenges confronting our National Democratic Revolution.
We received inspiring messages of support from all our alliance partners including a written message of support sent by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).
We were inspired by the visit of the CUBAN Five Heroes a few days ago who had been released from the jails of the United States of America because of the pressure mounted by campaigns waged by amongst others COSATU affiliates , the progressive forces of our country and all the freedom loving international fraternal organisations.
We were also inspired by the news of the release on bail of comrade Mario Masuku, the President of PUDEMO and comrade Maxwell Dlamini – SWAYOCO Secretary General who had been jailed by the Mswati regime for leading the Swaziland National Democratic struggle towards the establishment of a democratic constitution for a democratic Swaziland. We are calling for the withdrawal of all the charges immediately.
We were however saddened by the news of the passing away of comrade Patrick Baleka, who will be remembered as one of the United Democratic Front leaders who were tried on charges of treason and certain statutory offences in the famous Delmas treason Trial which commenced on 16 October 1985 and ended on 8 December 1988. At the conclusion of the trial, Baleka was acquitted. In January 2001 the Truth and Reconciliation Commission granted him amnesty for high treason. Comrade Baleka was a staunch activist who coordinated international Solidarity campaign demanding the rights of the Saharawi people to self determination as led by the Polisario Front against occupation by Morocco.
We the 2477 delegates representing more than 1, 9 million members hereby declare that contrary to the reported threats of disruptions and intentions of splitting our federation we are committing to stand up and defending our federation.
We are doing so in this Special National Congress and we will do so continuously and into the future through visible activities on the ground!
We condemn the development, production and circulation of a document inside which was not approved by COSATU structures intended to sow divisions in our Special National Congress. We commend our affiliates who stood up and distanced themselves from this alien tendency. This is a foreign culture which we are prepared to fight and defeat starting from the Special National Congress moving forward!
We condemn the mobilisation and use of some sections of the media to undermine our federation .Whilst we value the rights of the media but they have a responsibility to report factually and accurately about the affairs of the federation and not act in a factional manner which seeks to undermine decisions of our constitutional structures and reinforce divisions.
We want to unequivocally declare that we want unity of COSATU. This federation remains a home of all workers and workers will be better organised under the leadership of COSATU. In this regard as delegates to this Special National Congress we call on all the COSATU affiliates who had decided to boycott the CEC to come back and raise their issues inside the organisation and have these subjected to democratic debate and discussions.
We want discipline within the federation and in our affiliates. We want a COSATU that is based on its constitution and founding principles of one Country – One Federation, One Union – One Industry, Paid Up Membership , Worker Control , worker Solidarity, non –racialism and Unity.
We re-affirm without any ambiguity that COSATU belongs to the Congress movement thus to the ANC –led liberation movement. We pursue the National Democratic Revolution as a direct route to Socialism.
As delegates coming from across all the sectors of our economy and across the length and breadth of our country we re- affirm the character of COSATU as a militant and radical federation of trade unions, which is class oriented and that COSATU is not a political party.
Our federation must remain occupied with broad social and political issues, as well as the immediate concerns of its members. It must continuously strive to remain a social force for transformation.
COSATU’s influence on society must remain based on its organised power, its capacity to mobilise, its socio – economic programme and policies and its participation in political and social alliances.
We are saying that COSATU must remain committed to worker control and democracy, and to maintaining its independence being conscious of the dangers of being co-opted by employers and politicians.
As delegates to this Special National Congress we instruct that COSATU must remain conscious about striking a balance between the immediate concerns of its members to the need for ‘stability’ and ‘national development’ without subordinating each to the other.
COSATU must remain a worker controlled federation that is vigilant and which strive to avoid any possibility of being complacent, being bureaucratic and being controlled by technocrats and experts.
We accept that in the discussions regarding the unity and cohesion of the federation, issues related to leadership were discussed but not exhausted.
In this regard we call for honesty, integrity and collective leadership in building genuine unity and cohesion. A more systematic discussion will be taken forward leading to the ordinary National Congress to be held at the end of November this year.
We met a time when there was a heightened against the workers and working class in general at an international and national level.
All the attacks that were directed against the federation leading to the Special National Congress including the use of some section of the media for misinformation and generating perceptions which undermines the federation and its leadership, the use of courts against the federation and its leaders, the production and circulation of an unknown document during the Special Congress cannot be divorced from this offensive.
Representatives of these offensive camouflages with left wing rhetoric and yet their thinking and conduct exposes their fundamental character as being right wing.
Chairman Mao had this to say about this grouping in his instructive work titled “Combat liberalism”: “Liberalism stems from petty-bourgeois selfishness, it places personal interests first and the interests of the revolution second, and this gives rise to ideological, political and organizational liberalism.”
People who are liberals look upon the principles of Marxism as abstract dogma. They approve of Marxism, but are not prepared to practice it or to practice it in full; they are not prepared to replace their liberalism by Marxism. These people have their Marxism, but they have their liberalism as well—they talk Marxism but practice liberalism; they apply Marxism to others but liberalism to themselves. They keep both kinds of goods in stock and find a use for each. This is how the minds of certain people work.
Liberalism is a manifestation of opportunism and conflicts fundamentally with Marxism. It is negative and objectively has the effect of helping the enemy; that is why the enemy welcomes its preservation in our midst. Such being its nature, there should be no place for it in the ranks of the revolution.
We note the concerted offensive against the people of Greece, who have endured sustained attacks on their livelihoods as the IMF, European Union and European Central Bank were forcing the ordinary people of that country to pay for the bailout given to the private companies.
We are in an age of the highest stage of imperialism, characterised by the centralization and concentration of capital and wealth in the hands of a few; the financialisation of the economy due to the systemic and chronic stagnation of the productive sector; the systematic attack on the social functions of the State that has been achieved through struggle of the workers and peoples; the commercialization of all spheres of social life, in a logic of privatizing all that can bring higher returns to capital; the attacks on international law and sovereignty of the States; the centralization of political power and its submission to economic power and to the strategies of militarization of international relations.
Over the past four decades, the Neoliberal regime of accumulation has failed to resolve the systemic crisis of capitalism. It has attempted to restore profitability through the destruction of the welfare state, cuts in real wages, intensification of work periods; deregulation and increase in working hours; deregulation of labour relations; widespread casual labour, particularly among the women and young workers; super-exploitation of migrant workers. Appropriation of labour productivity gains by capital; Increase in the retirement age; Cuts in pensions and retirement benefits; Increase in unemployment rates; Regression of social and labour rights; the denial of the right to bargain collectively and to strike.
This offensive seen at an international level gets translated into our country in different forms and they add to the prevailing colonial and apartheid social conditions in which the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequalities continue to define South African society, 21 years into our democracy.
The right to strike, which we have won through our own struggles and secured as a constitutional right has been challenged by international capital’s representatives at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The Democratic Alliance which is the political representative of this offensive against workers introduced a Bill in Parliament in 2014 which in practice was intended to severely limit this constitutional right. Despite all the challenges that our federation has been facing since our last congress, we were able to launch a fight leading to the Parliament under the leadership of the ANC rejecting this DA Bill.
Our hard won advances secured since the democratic breakthrough continues to face threats from the judiciary which zigzags from making progressive rulings which asserts the new democratic dispensation and making ruling which clearly constitute judicial overreach and undermining the doctrine of the separation of powers. The result of this has been to undermine the majority rule and to impose setbacks on development which favour the majority of South Africans the majority of whom is the working class.
We want the Creation of the structures necessary to foster judicial independence. While accepting the principle of the independence of the judiciary, we however reject efforts to hide behind this principle to block transformation or fair criticism of judgements.
We therefore call for the building of a bench that is demographically representative of the population, appointment of judges who identify with and are dedicated to advancing the socio-economic rights of the working class and who pay allegiance to the new constitutional order.
We want an increase access to justice for all sectors of society, promoting a culture of judicial accountability. We are calling for the reorganisation of the court system to better reflect changes in the country’s provincial and demographic make-up,
We call for an open debate in society on the transformation of the judiciary and the legal profession, transformation of the judiciary must include, but not limited to, achieving racial and gender parity, changing attitudes towards the aspirations and needs of the working class and the poor; progressive gender perspective; change in the language of the courts; access to and the administration of justice, and building a prosperous non-racial non-sexist and democratic South Africa that would not tolerate inequalities inherited from apartheid capitalism.
We will defend our right to collective Bargaining with everything we have! In 2013 the free market foundation launched a constitutional challenge against the right to collective bargaining. As COSATU working with our union SACTWU we oppose the constitutional challenge, launched on 5 March 2013 by the Free Market Foundation (FMF), to the extension of bargaining council agreements to non-parties. We argued that this was nothing less than a war against the entire labour relations regime built since 1994, with the aim of leaving workers defenceless against even more ruthless exploitation by employers than they suffer already and plunged into even deeper poverty.
We are angry that employers continue to seek creative ways of evading compliance with labour legislation. The 2014 Employment Equity report gives testimony to this and it shows that major beneficiaries of employment equity from the Report are not different from the major beneficiaries of apartheid. The report shows that Employment Equity Act has primarily benefited White Women.
In this regard we will develop programmes and campaigns to draw the attention of society to the challenges confronting women inside our organisations and in society generally.
Women continue to be discriminated against both in society and in the workplace, the workplace environment is constantly characterised by gender and economic discrimination, women workers conditions are least protected , economic and maternity protection remains a matter of concern. When women drop out of the labour force to bearing and raising children, they typically suffer consequences in terms of career progression and retirement/social security benefits and loose out more on their year’s earnings.
We therefore instruct the first CEC should develop a programme of action on gender struggles which will deal with the following:
1. To ensure that the office matter involving the staff member and the former leader is used to popularise COSATU’s gender polices. We reject the spreading of conspiracy theory which characterised this matter as political. This was about power relations in the workplace tilted against the women worker. It must be understood in the context of women’s struggles in the workplace and power relations in society generally. In this regard the federation should elevate, implement and defend its gender policy and code of conduct regarding sexual harassment in the workplace and in society in general.
2. A discussion document must be developed on gender struggles focusing on the current challenges facing women in society and in the workplace.
3. Fight to reclaim the dignity of work and the rights of women workers and people living with disability
4. Organise more women and map out workplace plans to improve women job security, pay and conditions
5. Campaign for decent work , decent life for women and in particular pay equity, ratification of ILO Conversation 183 on Maternity Protection
6. Heighten the campaigning against discrimination
We also met at a time when despite qualitative advances secured since the 1994 democratic breakthrough, an estimated 50% of South Africans still live in poverty and the unemployment rate stands at more than 37%.
Inequality remains deep, gendered and radicalised. This is linked to the fact that the share of wages in national income has been decreasing, from just below 55% in 1994 to 51% per cent in 2012.
The marginalisation of the working class in the economy has also been evidenced by flexible labour market in the form of actualisation, outsourcing and the use of labour brokers, the commodification of basic needs and the suppression of workers’ wages below productivity gains.
As workers under the leadership of COSATU we remain resolute in our campaign for a Living wage and the fight for the total ban of Labour Brokers and for a reliable, affordable, safe and accessible public transport. We will continue to call for the scraping of e-tolls.
We are angry against employers who continue to dismiss workers despite the high levels of unemployment in the country. All COSATU affiliates shall develop solidarity activities to support the Communications Workers Union (CWU) in their struggle against MTN employers who are planning to retrench thousands of workers instead of accepting the demand for a living wage. We give MTN employers one week ultimatum to resolve the dispute and to return all dismissed workers.
Give to workers that which belong to workers!
We note that despite interventions by the democratic government which include more that 15 million people receiving social grants, the reality of capitalism in our country has meant that there is chronic high unemployment, low paying jobs, casualisation our people do not have enough money to buy food. People who happen to be employed or who have casual jobs indicated that they are food secure in the first week after their wages are paid but are often food-insecure for the remaining three weeks in the month. Low-paid and irregular work reduces stability of access to food.”
As COSATU we have always raised these crisis features of capitalism not because we expect capitalism to be any different, but because we seek to overcome this system with a rational, human system of socialism. Indeed, in the current terrain of the national democratic revolution. We have placed on the table before the nation our New Growth Path which puts forward a comprehensive set of proposals on how the systemic triple crises of; unemployment, poverty and inequalities, can be overcome.
For its part, the South African Communist Party has placed on the table its own comprehensive proposals in its document, “Going to the Root”, which has been adopted by its recent Special National Congress. These proposals of COSATU and SACP mutually reinforce each other. Indeed the Alliance as a whole shares the perspective of a radical second phase. However, the Alliance must now move to the next stage of agreeing on the actual content of the radical second phase.
We recognise that our 2015 Plan is now coming to an end in this year of our 30th anniversary. We celebrated this year’s May Day pledging to reposition our federations.
In keeping with the true traditions of our federation, we will now initiate a process of introspection; we will study how affiliates and COSATU structures operate in practice. This must be with the view to subsequently elaborating and enriching the content of our Back to Basics perspective, as discussed by the 11th Congress and the 2013 Organising and Bargaining conference.
The development of a medium-term conjunctural political strategic perspective would then emerge, properly discussed and formulated on the basis of this process.
The federation also recognise the need to develop agreed and binding strategies of dealing with business unionism, which must include developing policies on the investment arms, retirement funds, procurement policies and fund raising.
We will work to develop a conscious response and adaptation mechanism to our present reality of capitalism that is corroding the sole of our trade union movement.
Similarly, we pledge to develop innovative modes and forms of organising workers and demarcation of organisational scopes, mergers and building super-unions in line with COSATU’s principle of “One union – One industry”. Thus, we are aiming to embark on a disciplined and well-informed process supported by research, which shall also give us answers as to why decisions on mergers have not been implemented so that we can be able to overcome the barriers.
Based on our understanding that “the character of any organization is naturally and inevitably determined by the content of its activity” we therefore instruct the first CEC after this Special National Congress to develop programmes and campaigns which will based on existing campaigns focusing on building and defending the unity of our federation through action on the ground.
Our campaigns will include elevating the concerns we have raised some sections of the National Development. We will also be launching a campaign calling introduction of redistributive tax interventions which include progressive tax system, with an introduction of a tax category for the super rich.
We are concerned about attempts which positions Black Economic Empowerment policies in a manner that promotes individual -enrichment as opposed to genuine Collective Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment. We shall have campaigns to openly oppose this anti –transformation manoeuvres.
Elements of our campaigns will also include demands for the establishment of a state construction company and that government must convene a construction Summit which will on amongst others address the challenges in the country’s infrastructure development programme and confronting the conduct of construction companies which is driven by profit maximisation logic which imposes limits to the country’s development imperatives.
We are going to the ground! Every shop steward, every organiser and every union leader must be at the workplace listening to workers and practically addressing their issues.
Our organisation building programmes and campaign will also include listening campaign including work place visit, campaign to protect our hard worn labour rights , mobilisation towards the National Day of Action, taking forward our living wage campaign focusing on the National Minimum wage , confronting racism at the workplace, a campaign against labour brokers , reviewing the impact of the Youth Employment Incentives , a campaign for affordable , reliable , accessible , and safe public transport and a campaign to scrap e-tolls , etc. A more comprehensive programme is attached separately.
We emerge from this Special Congress more united, more committed and more determined than ever to achieve our objective of building a strong, militant, non-racial, non-sexist, progressive workers’ federation. We are deeply conscious of the faith and hopes placed upon us by millions of workers in our country and beyond, we are unapologetic in our resolute pursuit of a better life for all workers, and we remain cognizant of our historical duty to rally workers to the cause of social, economic and political freedom.
Our rallying cry remains the Marxist call that: ‘Workers of the World unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains!’
A proposed Programme to be elaborated by Campaigns, organising and Coordinating Committee. It will include the following focus areas:
1. Protection of Centralised Bargaining:
a) Focus on Free Market Foundation (FMF)
• Defend the attack on Collective Bargaining
• Hold a Picket at the Free Market Foundation Head Office
• Mobilise for demonstrations on date of Court Hearings
b) Focus on NUM and Gold Sector Agreement
• NUM to provide an update on AMCU challenge on extending collective agreement reached between NUM and the Gold sector by 24th June 2015.
• Wage negotiations and strikes support
• All affiliates to provide an update on the current wage disputes and strikes.
• COSATU to consolidate the above and circulate to all affiliates and provinces and progressive youth structures to ensure maximum solidarity.
2. National Minimum Wage (NMW):
a) Affiliates to report on mandated amount of the National MinimumWage .The Special CEC must enter into a discussion based on existing information .
b) National Day of Action for a National Minimum Wage to be carried out as part of taking forward our agenda on the Decent Work. We will target the International Day for Decent work on the 7th October 2015 for action.
3. Building and defending the federation:
Defending the federation means first and foremost defending its affiliates. This will include undertaking the following activities :
a) To take forward the programme on the recruitment and servicing of members by our affiliates.
b) Mobilisation of resources both human and material to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the COSATU Head office.
c) COSATU NOBs to continue having unity discussions with all COSATU unions and structures.
d) Take forward recommendations in the ANC task team report and the Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo Report.
e) This will include having the CEC concretising the back to basic campaign which should include holding political schools , a focus on training focusing on trade union work , capacitating shop stewards by affiliates as part preparing them for the battle if ideas and countering misinformation against the federation and their unions .
Focus on the New Labour Legislation:
a) To have advocacy training partnering with the Department of Labour and CCMA on the following issues:-
b) All amendments
c) Labour brokering – ( the unions will dedicate a person responsible for collecting information on our experience regarding the impact of the new labour legislation as part of monitoring compliance ) . This will then allow us to provide feedback to engage government about the validity of our argument against labour brokers.
d) Equal pay for work of equal value – to get up to date information from the CCMA
e) Monitoring strategy : Affiliates to give progress on the implementation of the laws in their sectors and on enforcements in the workplaces
4. Socio Economic Transformation:
Focus on Eskom Tariff Increase:
a) The intervention of the state on the situation at ESKOM to make sure that it has enough capacity to generate power for the country based on economic demands.
b) Transformation in ESKOM ( challenges of leadership and management)
c) Oppose any attempt to privatise ESKOM or any part of it.
d) Call for the regulated municipal electricity tariffs.
e) Municipalities must transfer al the electricity money to ESKOM failing which such municipality must lose its electricity selling licence; or develop a system which will protect the ESKOM money from the use by municipalities
f) ESKOM must supply electricity directly to the consumers through creation of enterprises owned by ESKOM.
g) The state to invest on the establishment of clean energy plants and not to leave it to the IPPs.
h) To develop policy proposals regarding nuclear energy and other sources of energy as part of a process to influence debate and policy development process on alternative energy sources.
5. Public Transport:
Focusing on the demand for a reliable, affordable, accessible and safe Public transport System and scrapping of E-tolls:
a) Demand for revitalisation of the rail infrastructure to avoid the current rate of train accidents.
b) Built the capacity of Transnet to be able to carry all the heavy cargo to reduce the number of trucks in the road which contribute to the high accident rate and the dilapidation of the road infrastructure.
c) Continue with the campaign against the privatisation of public roads and the double taxing of citizens for public infrastructure; demand for the total ban of E tolls.
d) Reject the new funding model as proposed by government. Oppose the liking of the e tolls to the license disc renewal
e) Support the fuel levy for the funding of infrastructure improvement
6. Youth Employment Incentives:
a) To raise the issue of 18 months testing period during the Alliance Summit.
b) To get reports from all affiliates on specific sectors as to what has been happening since the implementation of the incentives by Government.
c) Policy unit to develop a one pager flyer on Youth Employment Incentives outlining the following:
• Informal Economy Formalisation – ILC Recommendation:
• To conduct workshops on international convention recommendations.
• These workshops should be decentralised and focal points should be on the following:
• Role of SETAs, DOL, SEDAs and DTI
• Accessibility to funding and training
• Role of NDYA vs. newly established Youth Directorates.
• Criterion used to invest in the informal sector
• Biasness of the Government towards co-operatives.
• Targets groups:
• Young workers
• Progressive youth alliance
• Informal associations /organisations
• Rural areas
• These workshops will assist in developing an informed programme of action and among others we need to ensure that the funding that comes the DOL to DTI which is workers money, does not fund or promote labour brokering.
7. National Development Plan:
o Take forward engagement in the Alliance – prepare for the Alliance Political Council after the Summit
– Convene Bilateral with the SACP
– Mobilise members on COSATU and SACP concerns
8. National Day of Action / Strike
Focus on the following Demands:
a) Public Transport / E-Tolls
b) National Minimum Wage
c) Youth Employment Incentives
Tasks to be undertaken include:
– Submit section 77 notices to NEDLAC with regard to above demands and call for the national strike in September 2015 when there is no agreement . COCC to develop and provide specific demands in this regard.
– Provinces to continue and intensify the programmes which have been ongoing.
– Develop a budget linked to the programme and Strike.
– Mobilise for National Day of Action.
9. 2016 Local Government Elections
a) Elections committee should continue with its work
b) Develop proposals regarding the municipal boundaries and confront the emerging trend where demarcation is used to maintain apartheid boundaries which re-enforces racism and tribalism.
c) Form COSATU election structures and deploy COSATU comrades into the ANC election structures
d) Work together with the ANC to complete the ward profiles in the all ward
e) Revisit issue raised by communities in the last elections with an intention to give feedback on the progress made.
f) Encourage members of COSATU and the alliance to be part of the BET VD and street coordinators
g) Mobilisation for the election must form part of each and every activity of the federation
h) The tendering system must change. Government must find a way to deal with the tender system. Have quality control mechanisms. Build the capacity of the state to deliver infrastructure and not to rely on the private sector.
10. International Solidarity:
Focus – Swaziland Solidarity
a) Convening a meeting with Swazi civil society, political parties & TUCOSWA.
b) Provincial Task Team to be formed at KZN & Mpumalanga.
c) To re-assess the need for Border Blockades –
d) To consider Work to rule/Go slows as part of our campaign
e) To conduct an impact assessment on our Swaziland Solidarity Campaign
f) Informed by this assessment to consider amongst others deleveloping a clear programme on Swaziland Global Week of Action.
a) Convene a meeting to evaluate POA.
b) Convene an Education W/shop on Xenophobia & International relations.
c) Campaign for establishment of Local & Provincial Migrant Desk.
d) Involve Diaspora Organizations.
e) Pay Special attention to Township Economy
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 11th National Congress Declaration” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
We, the 3000 delegates representing 2.2 million workers, coming from the workplaces in every sector of the economy, from both big and small cities and rural areas, gathered at COSATU`s 11th National Congress, speaking with one unified voice, call on our members and all working people to support this Call to Action. The workers of our country have spoken, and COSATU, their organisation, has listened. We have confounded many predictions that we will devour our movement!
We are meeting at a time of a global economic crisis, and massive domestic challenges. On the one hand this crisis worsens our triple crisis of poverty unemployment and inequality. On the other, space has now opened up for countries to pursue radical economic alternatives. The moment to act is now! After 18 years of freedom the patience of our people is running out!
COSATU`s 11th National Congress – the Workers` Parliament – has declared: We are not prepared to tolerate massive levels of unemployment! We want labour brokers banned now! We will not accept widespread poverty! We cannot live with grotesque levels of inequality which have made us the most unequal society on the planet!
Workers whether in far flung rural areas, or urban slums, say that they are no longer prepared to tolerate poverty wages:
Mineworkers, who produce our wealth in the belly of the earth, are earning a tiny fraction of the surplus they produce.
Farm workers who produce our food work under near slave conditions.
Retail and commercial workers, many casualised women without basic benefits barely make enough to pay for their transport.
Security workers who protect us, and transport workers who take us to work, work unbelievably long hours for a pittance.
Our nurses, teachers and police are not being fairly paid for the valuable services they provide.
The majority of these workers, together with workers in the clothing factories, the foundries, and countless plants around the country work long hours and face dangerous conditions for poverty wages. Over half of South Africa`s workers work for less than R3000 a month!
Workers are demanding that the People Shall Share in the Country`s Wealth. Our members are speaking through our structures, demonstrating their lack of patience through wildcat strikes and service delivery protests. Our members are sending us a clear message:
They are demanding an end to starvation wages that in the main affects the black working class. They are demanding that the unions should spare no efforts to fight against these poverty wages and near slavery working conditions in most of the sectors of the economy.
They are telling us that they have had enough of the unfulfilled promise to implement the Freedom Charter. They demand a radical change in their socio-economic conditions, and the creation of a powerful developmental state, which intervenes decisively in strategic sectors of the economy. This requires a radical shift in economic policy, and a full implementation of the Freedom Charter! They are communicating a strong message that political freedom may soon be meaningless without economic freedom.
They are calling for the abolition of the apartheid wage structure, the creation of strong collective bargaining institutions in all sectors of the economy, and comprehensive social protection for the unemployed!
They are calling for decisive action to end abusive practices particularly labour broking, and casualization, and the super-exploitation of vulnerable workers!
They are calling for the creation of decent living conditions where they live, rural and urban; they want urgent steps to address the crisis facing the public health system, and for us to work to address the education crisis, in particular the dysfunctionality of most of the working class schools; they want affordable, accessible and efficient transport so that they do not continue to be the main victims of the ongoing road carnage; they want provision of houses close to where they and in a manner that ends the apartheid spatial development.
They are demanding powerful worker-controlled unions in all sectors! They want their unions to in the main focus on a battle to improve their wages, improve conditions of employment and defend their jobs.
They demand responsive and accountable local government. They demand councillors and government officials that are selflessly dedicated to improve their conditions by embarking on a series of joint campaigns aimed at turning their situation around.
They have had enough of corruption which is an elite programme to steal from the poor. They do not take kindly to the obscene displays of public consumption by the elite, a message that says we don`t care about your crisis of poverty – we have arrived.
They have been waiting to hear the news that the labour brokers have been banned.
We know that we cannot afford to fight silly battles against one another when the house is on fire. We have agreed that a radical agenda of socio-economic transformation must be the core element of the second phase of our democratic transition! We call this our Lula moment to speak to a successful transformation that has changed the lives of millions of workers and peasants in Brazil.
We, the workers gathered here today, pledge to embark on a united and radical programme of action to realise workers legitimate demands, and to engage our communities and the broader democratic movement, to support us in these efforts. The programme of action will be based on the following four pillars:
I. ABOLISH THE APARTHEID WAGE STRUCTURE: FORWARD TO A LIVING WAGE!
Too many workers and their families are living in poverty. It is totally unacceptable that half of all employed workers earn R3000 a month or less, meaning that the majority of South African workers can`t afford the basic necessities of life. Combating low wages is at the heart of addressing poverty and inequality.
Congress agrees on the following urgent measures to abolish the apartheid wage structure, and put a more equitable structure in place. As a matter of extreme urgency, we will take the following steps:
Call a National Bargaining, Campaigns and Organising Conference before the end of the year, and a Special CEC after this Congress, among others to consider proposals on measures to transform the apartheid wage structure, and craft a new national wage policy. These proposals include a National Minimum Wage, mandatory centralised collective bargaining, as well as ensuring social protection for the unemployed. The national minimum wage, if adopted, would be linked to a minimum living level, as a basic wage floor above which affiliates will negotiate sectoral wage levels
All COSATU affiliates will urgently review wages and collective bargaining strategies in their sectors, and develop demands to take forward this programme of transforming our wage structure. This will include innovative bargaining strategies which move away from an over-reliance on across-the-board percentage increases, as well as challenging entrenched discriminatory grading systems.
We will convene urgent meetings with government and the ANC, at the highest level, to discuss the development of a new wage policy for the country, which will be aimed at deliberately and systematically transforming the current apartheid wage structure.
Congress expressed its determination to protect the integrity of collective bargaining, and to resist all attempts by employers to undermine it. Congress reaffirmed the strike weapon as the primary tool of exercising power that workers have at their disposal. It was agreed that we need to step up our solidarity in strikes, that we should campaign for amendments to the Gatherings Act, and that we should investigate the establishment of workable strike funds, within the framework of a Federation-wide policy. II RADICAL SOCIO-ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION: THE PEOPLE SHALL SHARE IN THE COUNTRY`S WEALTH!
We agree with our Alliance partners that the core of this second radical phase of the transition of our NDR must be a fundamental economic shift, to transform the structure of our economy, and address the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality.
While we have made important advances in the areas of democracy, human rights and social benefits, for which we give full credit to the efforts of our Alliance, and the ANC government, socio-economically, workers` lives have not been transformed. As a result of the structural fault-lines of the economy we inherited from colonialism and apartheid, the disastrous neoliberal policies of the 1996 class project, and the worldwide crisis of capitalism, working people face mass unemployment, widespread poverty and widening inequality.
The shocking levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality lie at the heart of the increasingly violent protests we are seeing in both workplaces and communities. It is creating what until recently we have called `ticking`bombs. In the context of the events in the mining industry, and the growing service delivery protests, we now must talk of `exploding` bombs.
We have clearly not come close to achieving the demands in the Freedom Charter that:
The people shall share in the country`s wealth;
The national wealth of our country, the heritage of South Africans, shall be restored to the people;
The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people as a whole;
All other industry and trade shall be controlled to assist the wellbeing of the people.”
This Congress therefore resolves to embark on a programme of action to drive the radical economic shift in line with the demands of the Freedom Charter. Key demands include:
The call for decisive state intervention in strategic sectors of the economy, including through strategic nationalisation and state ownership, and the use of a variety of macro-economic and other levers at the states disposal, which can be deployed to regulate and channel investment, production, consumption and trade to deliberately drive industrialisation, sustainable development, decent employment creation, and regional development, and to break historical patterns of colonial exploitation and dependence.
The urgent need to radically overhaul our macro-economic policy in line with the radical economic shift which we all agree needs to happen. To this end we will engage with our alliance partners in the run-up to the ANC Mangaung conference, on the macro-economic policy review.
The radical economic shift requires that institutionally, the Treasury, which constitutes the biggest obstacle to the government`s economic programme, needs to be urgently realigned; a new mandate needs to be given to the Reserve Bank, which must be nationalised; and the National Planning Commission must be given a renewed mandate, to realign the national plan, in line with the proposed radical economic shift . Aspects of the New Growth Path also need to be realigned in line with the proposed new macro-economic framework. All state owned enterprises and state development finance institutions need to be given a new mandate.
Urgent steps must be taken to reverse the current investment strike and export of South African capital. There is currently R1,2 trillion lying idle in social surplus which employers are refusing to invest. These measures need to include capital controls and measures aimed at prescribed investment, and penalising speculation.
The urgent introduction of comprehensive social security.
This Congress resolved to lodge a Section 77 notice around demands for a radical economic policy shift including:
On the role of Treasury, monetary policy and the Reserve Bank;
State intervention in strategic sectors including through nationalisation;
Measures to ensure beneficiation, such as taxes of mineral exports;
Channelling of retirement funds into productive investment;
Comprehensive land reform, and measure to ensure food security; and
The more effective deployment of all state levers to advance industrialisation and the creation of decent work on a large scale.
The CEC will elaborate the Section 77 notice based on these demands and other socio-economic demands which have been raised by Congress.
Congress notes the Constitutional Court decision to allow the implementation of E-tolls. Congress warns the government not to even think about implementing e-tolls, while negotiations are continuing, and we will continue to do everything in our power to reverse this regressive tax on commuters.
At the same time, Congress is encouraged by certain new directions in government policy, including some steps towards a coherent beneficiation strategy, local procurement, an infrastructure programme aligned to an industrialisation and development strategy, IPAP, and the beginnings of a new approach to regional development.
However much more urgency is required. In addition Congress is convinced that these initiatives will only have their full impact in the context of an appropriate macro-economic strategy, through which the state is able to maximise the developmental impact of its interventions on the economy. In addition, certain amendments need to be made to legislation aimed at curtailing monopoly capital, to strengthen and broaden the power of competition authorities.
In terms of workers collective savings we pledge to work towards:
The consolidation of retirement funds and the creation of a central retirement fund investment vehicle in the private sector, along the lines of the PIC, aimed at directing savings of workers into productive investment, and development.
The establishment of a Workers Bank.
Congress calls for a coherent regional strategy to promote African economic development and industrialisation and the development of the African market. We further call for the involvement of African trade unions in continental development processes.
III BUILD STRONG WORKER-CONTROLLED UNIONS: ORGANISE OR STARVE!
Congress asserts that it is only through strong worker-controlled organisations and unity that workers can make gains, defend these gains and sustain them over time. We will therefore embark on a concerted organisational drive to consolidate, build and further democratise our organisations; extend our organisations to areas where workers are currently unorganised; and to act decisively to combat practices, or conditions, which lead to worker disunity or fragmentation of our organisations.
This Congress therefore calls on all of us to go back to basics, focus effectively on workplace issues, organisation and recruitment, deliver service to our members, and implement our 2015 Plan! It is only through building powerful, unified organisation that workers will have an effective engine to drive the changes we want to see at the workplace, in the economy, and at a political level.
Congress calls for a mindset change in COSATU. It needs to ensure greater focus on the expectations of our members at the workplace, as articulated in the 2012 Workers Survey. This includes their need for us to fight for greater job protection and living wages. We need to ensure greater solidarity and unity in action. We need to make leadership more visible, and interactive. We need to communicate more effectively with our members.
We therefore pledge to combat:
Social distance between leaders and members, by entrenching deeper forms of accountability and worker control;
Bureaucratisation of our structures, at affiliate or federation level, by ensuring that we remain a campaigning mobilising organisation;
Divisive and undemocratic conduct in our unions, which attempts to undermine worker unity, or create splinter unions
We pledge to:
Build strong worker-controlled unions, focused on issues of concern to our members, at the workplace, socio-economic and political levels;
Organise the unorganised, particularly farm workers and other vulnerable and super-exploited workers, and bring all workers under the umbrella of this mighty Federation.
Congress mandates the CEC to develop a detailed 3-year strategy to systematically take forward the 2015 Plan, monitor implementation of this strategy, and present a report on progress to our 2015 Congress. We also mandate the CEC to update the 2015 Plan, in line with current conditions, and the discussions and Resolutions of this Congress.
Congress agreed that new recruitment targets need to be set for each sector, and that affiliates must report progress in recruitment on a regular basis to the CEC. It was further agreed that we should target in particular the following categories of workers for recruitment:- young workers, women workers, vulnerable workers (very low paid, contract, part-time, seasonal etc), non African workers and migrant workers (including foreign nationals).
An urgent engagement must take place with government to ensure that the Department of Labour is given adequate resources, to develop the necessary capacity to implement labour laws, especially those aimed at protecting the most vulnerable.
On organising and servicing members, Congress agreed that we take steps to improve all levels of service to members. We need to ensure that adequate resources are invested into the proper training of shop stewards, organisers and leaders..
On our COSATU Local and Provincial structures and activities, it was stressed that these are the engine of the Federation and require maximum support. Congress mandated the CEC to ensure that they are properly capacitated and review the resources allocated to them, to enable them to fully play their role.
As a means of advancing international worker unity and solidarity, the Congress resolved to retain its affiliation to the ITUC, and in addition agreed that in principle that it will affiliate to the WFTU. The CEC will investigate the modalities of implementing this decision. COSATU will seek to use its influence at the international level to build greater co-operation and ultimately unity between international organisations of workers.
In relation to the current crisis in the mining industry, and the situation post-Marikana, the Congress observes that organisationally, the history of workers struggles in South Africa shows:
Wild cat strikes and undirected outbursts of workers grievances, while they can achieve significant gains in the short term, will in the longer term leave workers isolated, vulnerable and exposed to worker-bashing tactics by employers, if this militancy is not transformed into sustainable organisation, both at a company and industry level. There is no short-cut outside of the building of strong worker-controlled unions.
COSATU is the Federation of choice, and the home for the vast majority of organised workers in this country. Therefore, workers who build their organisation within the Federation multiply their power, and can draw on the solidarity of millions of fellow members. Equally those who choose to move outside the organisation, weaken themselves immeasurably.
We need to expose and combat the deliberate ploys by employers to promote splinter unions, provoke unprotected strikes, and undermine centralised bargaining, as ways of smashing worker organisation.
Business and their opportunist political bedfellows want to play the old strategy of divide-and-rule, so that they can reverse the workers` victories and resume and intensify their super-exploitation of the workers and amass even bigger profits.
We reiterate the call made in our Declaration on the Marikana crisis, that there must be a Independent Commission of Inquiry into the mining industry, to look at measures to transform the sector; and that COSATU will fully support a fighting programme for a more equitable distribution of the surplus to mine workers, in line with our campaign for wage equity throughout the economy.
IV CREATING OUR OWN LULA MOMENT: DRIVING THE SECOND PHASE OF OUR TRANSITION!
The Lula moment starts now! Congress agrees that we need to drive a programme of action together with our allies, which will engineer the transformation we desire. The Congress endorses the proposal for a national agreement contained in the Secretariat political report (pages 45-46), as a basis for engagement with our allies, to be further elaborated by the CEC. This will be our key input into the second phase of the transition, and our contribution to our `Lula moment`.
The second phase of the transition requires that
The programme of the movement is clearly biased towards the working class, and is based on an agreed platform which is implemented by government
We deliberately build an activist interventionist state
The ANC-led Alliance constitutes the strategic centre of power
The Political Report, together with affiliate proposed resolutions, proposes a series of interventions which need to advanced by the Federation, together with our Allies, including effectively transforming the state, dealing with challenges of corruption and non-delivery, ensuring representative and accountable leadership in the movement, swelling the ranks, build political unity inside and outside COSATU, building the mass democratic movement, and developing the Alliance as the engine of transformation.
In addition, a specific matter which Congress said must be addressed is the abolition of the Provinces. The CEC must look at how to best elaborate these proposals and take them forward.
While the country is facing serious challenges, we must not sink into despair and feel that there is nothing we can do. Developments in Brazil and other Latin American countries have shown in practice that policies to reduce poverty, create employment and speed up economic growth can start to turn the tide. They have confounded the prophets of doom who say there is no alternative to the neoliberal, free-market system of capitalism which is based on the super-exploitation of workers and lies at the heart of our crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Of course the policies implemented in Brazil cannot be implemented mechanically in South Africa but they give us hope that there is an alternative.
COSATU emerges from this Congress stronger and more united than ever. This Workers Parliament has unanimously re-elected its National Office Bearers for the next three years. We pledge to support the COSATU leadership collective in decisively implementing this radical programme of action we have agreed on today.
Now is our moment!
Seize the day!
A luta continua
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 11th Congress Declaration on the Lonmin Marikana platinum mine tragedy, the mining industry, and general poverty wages” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
17 September 2012
We the 3,000 delegates to the 11th COSATU Congress, in the presence of over 500 invited guests, and in the true spirit of “An Injury to One is an Injury to All” wish to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the families of at least 60 people killed in the course of the Lonmin and Impala disputes. These include 5 killed at Impala Patinum, 6 at Aquarius Platinum, and 47 at Lonmin Marikana (10 before 16th August, 34 on 16th August, and 3 after the 16th August). We wish a quick recovery to all those who have been injured.
We declare our solidarity with all the working class communities in the affected areas whose lives have been shattered by the ongoing violent disputes in the mines. COSATU stands ready to join all South Africans and the progressive peoples of the world who genuinely want to see real peace and stability return to the affected mines through finding a just solution to the violent crisis.
We welcome the Independent Judicial Commission of Inquiry appointed by the government that will investigate all the events leading to fateful day of 16th August 2012. As COSATU we pledge to do our part to ensure that all the relevant factors and evidence that led to the violence and tragedy of 16th August are revealed by ensuring that by ensuring that our members who witnessed violence before, during and after the tragedy cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry.
We will do everything possible to help prevent any further deaths. We condemn violence, warlordism and intimidation from any quarter and strongly support the principle of Freedom of Association, especially for the working class. Membership of any union or any party should never cost a life. We reiterate the position expressed in a resolution taken at a previous COSATU Congress that we abhor the use of unnecessary force by the police against workers in all labour disputes, and believe that police officers are unfairly placed in situations which they are untrained and ill equipped to deal with. We also renew our call for the demilitarisation of SAPS.
We promise to defend our affiliate the NUM against ongoing violent attacks on its members and leaders. And we pledge to fight for the reinstatement of all the 2500 workers who were dismissed by Implats earlier this year, and the 800 who were dismissed by Lonmin last year.
We are extremely concerned that the events of 16th August and the ongoing violence, whose main victims remain the exploited masses, has shifted the focus and blame from the Platinum bosses who have systematically undermined collective bargaining and promoted division amongst workers, and who have been sitting in the shadows enjoying profits from the very workers whose families have now been robbed of their only breadwinners.
We call for a second Independent Commission of Inquiry that will work parallel to the Judicial Commission already appointed by the President. The terms of reference of this second Commission must be to investigate the employment and social conditions of workers in the mining industry, historically and at present. The Commission will have also to look at the global context of the industry. It should be of a scale similar to the 1979 Wiehahn Commission into Labour Legislation and the 1995 Leon Commissions into Health and Safety on the Mines. The Commission will be linked to a COSATU campaign for the complete transformation of the mining industry.
We commit ourselves to constantly working to improve the service that we as unions provide our members, including to protect and advance collective bargaining and to fight against attempts by employers and other expedient groups to promote employer unilateralism and the fragmentation of worker power.
We pledge that we will continue to strive to unite all workers in the struggle against poverty and exploitation, and for safe working conditions, decent and quality jobs, comprehensive social security and comprehensive social services
South Africa: the national and global crisis of capitalism and the centrality of the mining industry to the South African economy and society
South African capitalism has its origins in, and has flourished on the back of the exploitation of black and African labour; it serves, and is owned and controlled by, a tiny white population and its foreign backers.
In 1994, the African National Congress government inherited a collapsing colonial economy and society of South Africa, from the departing Nationalist Party. In this economy and society, Black people in general, and Africans in particular, suffered mass poverty, widespread unemployment and were victims of extreme forms of inequalities.
Mass poverty, widespread unemployment and extremely unequal social, economic and cultural conditions have been the burdens of Black and African people in South Africa before and from its inception, in 1910, to date.
The struggle for liberation was in fact waged in order to overthrow this situation: a situation in which the majority of the people of South Africa lived subhuman lives while the white population lived affluent lives.
The Freedom Charter accurately captured the aspirations of all peace, democracy and justice loving South Africans, thus it became the revolutionary programme of the Liberation Movement in South Africa.
Today, the whole world is reeling under the weight of the worst ever global crisis of capitalism. From 1996 onwards, South Africa moved rapidly to integrate fully into the global capitalist economy. Today, South African workers, like all workers of the world, are suffering the effects of the global crisis of the world capitalist system.
The global capitalist crisis has seen the capitalist class scrambling to claw back its rate of profitability. And as with every crisis of capitalism before it, capital is rallying by attacking the working class. In the workplace the attack is being effected through the relocation of production, casualisation, sub-contracting and labour broking, through reducing the size of the workforce, factory closures, and through changes in production processes. Attempts are being made to undermine trade union rights including collective bargaining, and a growing emphasis by the bosses on performance pay (usually meaning not negotiated), and the reduction or elimination of employer contributions to the social wage and to social security payments.
Outside of the workplace the squeeze in many countries is being effected through cuts in social services and increasing privatisation of basic services such as health, education, water and electricity. At the same time, food prices and the price of basic services such as water and electricity are increasing dramatically.
In all capitalist countries, of which our own is no exception, the state plays a central role in bolstering capital’s efforts to resolve the crisis by increasing levels of exploitation and accumulation. Calls for fiscal austerity are part of this. The working class, through its organised formations, has to contest this, and mobilise for responses to the crisis which shifts the burden of responsibility to those generating the crisis; and protects workers and poor communities from bearing the cost.
A feature of the current global capitalist crisis is that while attacking the working class, the ruling class increasingly rewards itself with grotesque pay and bonuses, engages in corrupt practices, and isolates itself from the rest of society by creating a privatised cocoon for itself. Never before has the gap between the rich and poor grown so rapidly.
The impact of the global economic crisis is being felt by the working class in growing unemployment (globally 210 million in 2010, the highest ever level of unemployment), a growing precariousness of employment, declining household incomes, reduced pensions, and reduced social services. Social cohesion, trust and solidarity invariably take strain under these conditions.
However, these processes of attacking the working class have never happened without a fight-back from the working class. And the fight-back invariably leads to attempts by the state, acting in the interests of the capitalist class, to put down resistance through coercion or force. That is why we have seen bloody clashes between protestors and police in the past year in Madrid, in Wisconsin, in London, in Seoul, in Cairo and in Athens. In this context, the actions of the police in labour disputes in South Africa, most recently in Marikana, reinforces the perception that rather than protecting ordinary people, police are advancing the narrow interests of employers.
The South African crisis of capitalist accumulation and the centrality of the mining industry
There is one major difference between South Africa and the rest of the world: the global capitalist crisis is worsening the already existing triple crisis of mass poverty, widespread unemployment and extreme inequalities in South Africa.
In this 11th Cosatu Congress we will once again, through our Socio-Economic Report, show just how desperate the conditions of life of the majority of the South African working class have become.
It is this which explains the desperation, anger and frustration of the majority of the South African working class who are largely Black and African: the inherited triple crisis is being compounded by the impact of the global crisis of the capitalist system!
Cosatu has consistently warned that the poverty, unemployment and inequalities affecting millions of South African workers are a ticking time bomb!
But there are features that make our situation different in other respects as well. One of those features is that our government has a commitment to increased social and infrastructure spending, as opposed to deep cuts in these areas. That is to be welcomed, even if as we know, there are challenges in implementation. But the other feature which makes our situation unique is the absolute centrality of the mining industry to our economy. This uniqueness has an ugly side to it, which is both historic and current.
The proposed Commission must trace the history of the mining industry in South Africa, including its past and present discriminatory practices, its historical reliance on cheap labour, and the history of treating mine workers as subhuman,
The mining industry directly employs around half a million workers, with another 400,000 employed indirectly by suppliers of goods and services. The combined direct and indirect contribution of the industry to our gross domestic product is around 18%. Mining also accounts for over half South Africa’s foreign exchange earnings. These are seemingly “neutral” statistics. But the industry has what the NUM has described as a “killing face”, reflected in ongoing fatalities, rapidly growing occupational diseases, unchecked environmental degradation, and squalid living conditions for many mine workers. Between 1900 and 1994, 69,000 mine workers died as result accidents and over a million were seriously injured. While the rate of fatalities and injuries has declined, it is still totally unacceptable, and has given reason for the NUM to call regular strikes on safety. 2301 workers lost their lives in the ten years between 2001 and 2011, and nearly 43,000 were seriously injured.
The mining industry has been found to be linked to 760,000 new TB infections per year given the effects of silica dust, poor living conditions and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS. This is a catastrophic figure, given that TB is an infectious and often deadly disease. The social consequences on the Southern African Region could be disastrous. In addition, silicosis (caused by the inhalation of silica dust underground) on its own is a killer disease, claiming the lives of thousands every year.
As the NUM has put it “Many mining workers employed underground will not live to see retirement without bodily harm. They will either be killed, injured or fall sickly.”
Not only is the mining industry characterised by death and disease, it is also characterised by remnants of apartheid. We all know that the industry was intertwined with apartheid through its use and promotion of tribalism and racial segregation and discrimination, so it should be no surprise to us that these are still to be found in many of our mines. It is not unusual, for example, to find white workers using separate shaft lifts. Racism is also institutionally entrenched through continued occupational segregation. While 83.7% of the total workforce in the industry is black, 84% of top management remains white! 72% of middle management are white, and 68% of professional workers and artisans are white.
While progress has been made in recruiting and training women in the industry, the environment remains hostile. Discrimination, violence and rape are not uncommon. Binky Moisane, an NUM comrade in the platinum sector, was earlier this year murdered underground.
Inequality is at its most extreme in the mining industry. It is no coincidence that the highest paid executive directors in South Africa in 2009 were in BHP Billiton (average R41m), Anglo American (average R20.5m), Lonmin (average R20m) and Anglo Gold Ashanti (average R17.5m). Compare these grotesque salaries to the current median wage of R4000 per month (or R48,000 per annum) and median minimum of R3600 a month (R43,200 per annum) of NUM members!
The mining industry is peculiar in that reduced demand for its output does not necessarily result in reduced profits. Profit depends on the price of the commodity, and that price can be manipulated by artificially manipulating supply and demand. So, for example, despite reduced demand for platinum in Western Europe and the US due to the recession, the three platinum companies Lonmin, Implats and Anglo Platinum registered an operating profit of more than R160 billion in the past five years!
The centrality of the mining industry to our economy is reflected in urban development which is driven by the sector. Just as Johannesburg was built on gold, Rustenburg is currently growing in a fashion which only meets the short term and rapacious interests of the platinum sector. Instead of a people-centred, sustainable modern city, the fastest growing city in Africa is characterised by no planning, mushrooming informal settlements (38 at the last count), and poor service delivery. Corruption is rife, and politics is murderous. Anarchy prevails.
This is the context that our affiliate, the National Union of Mineworkers organises in. The NUM has made huge strides over its 30 years of existence achieving massive improvements in the pay and conditions of mine workers. 30 years ago the industry was uniformly characterised by the very lowest pay, tribal factionalism, the physical abuse of workers, and dismissals without hearings. The industry was almost inaccessible to organising. Through struggles in the trenches led by the NUM, much has changed. But as indicated, there is much that remains unchanged in the structure and general characteristics of the industry. The fact that there is still so much that needs changing is not as a result of weaknesses of the NUM, but due to the entrenched position of the industry in our economy, and its resistance to radical transformation.
To change the mining industry we need maximum unity of workers
Our affiliate the NUM has been at the forefront of calling for radical change in the industry. But its efforts have been frustrated by unilateralism on the part of the bosses, by the blind encouragement of splinter unions by the bosses by competition for positions of shop steward, by the resuscitation of tribalism in some areas, and the resistance of our government to ban the practice of labour broking. In the Platinum sector, employer resistance to centralised bargaining has added to frustrations. What has made matters worse is that where divisions have resulted in physical attacks against NUM members, SAPS has consistently failed to act. This has lead the NUM to conclude that sections of SAPS are part of an anti-worker, ultra-nationalist “state within a state” which is acting to support a narrow grouping of business people and politicians. COSATU supports the NUM in its call for proper policing in the form of investigations, arrests, prosecutions and convictions in the case of reports of violence against NUM members or workers in general. This call for proper policing is not to be interpreted as a call for the violent repression of protesting workers. COSATU has unequivocally condemned the killings of 16th August.
Workers in the mining industry are clearly ready to tackle the need for deep change. The divisions amongst workers, and the other factors described above, combined with the appearance on the scene of uncountable numbers of opportunists seeking to pull workers this way and that way, are creating serious obstacles for the NUM to take the struggle forward.
In the face of all of this, COSATU recognises that the changes that are needed in the mining industry require the following of the Federation:-
- A clear message to mine workers that “united we stand, divided we fall”. While breaking out of the NUM’s fold might appear to bring short term gains to some workers, in the long run it will weaken the power of mine workers to change the industry and improve conditions overall.
- A strong appeal to any NUM member who has a genuine grievance against the union to channel this through the union, or via COSATU if necessary.
- Ongoing discussion at all levels of the Federation of how best to practically support the NUM going forward.
- A clear message to the SAPS and the Judiciary, that where there are continued violent attacks on mine workers and their families, these should be speedily investigated, and we must see arrests, prosecutions and convictions.
- The urgent establishment of a Commission into the historical and current working, social and living conditions in the mining industry.
- We demand that the Mining Industry takes urgent steps to comply with the Mining Charter.
- The proposed Commission will be linked to a Federation-wide solidarity campaign for the complete transformation of the industry. Such a campaign will be for an industry that reflects what is right and fair in a democracy. Every COSATU local and every affiliate will be expected to engage on how the struggle for transformation in the mining industry links to transformation in other sectors. It will include the demand for people centred urban development which is not anarchic as we have seen in Rustenburg.
Attacking poverty wages and inequality
Over and above the special attention to the mining industry, COSATU promises a militant campaign to tackle poverty wages in general. It is totally unacceptable that half of all employed workers in this country earn R3000 a month or less. The proposed elements of this campaign are spelt out in the Organisational Report to Congress, but in sum include:-
- A campaign to radically raise the lowest levels of pay in our country, with demands based on calculations of living requirements. As part of this, Congress will debate the principle of a National Minimum Wage.
- A demand for compulsory centralised bargaining in all sectors. We are convinced that we would not have seen the unfolding of events in the platinum sector if the mining bosses had seen beyond their own self interests to agree centralised bargaining.
- A pledge to move away from across the board percentage increases only, which we recognise have created inequalities between unskilled and skilled workers. While wages have on average beaten inflation, the real wages of many of our lowest paid members have actually declined.
- A campaign to move away from grading systems which have been imposed over time by the bosses and which disadvantage workers such as the rock drill operators in the mining industry. Workers who are central to any operation, and those who do dangerous or heavy work, should be rewarded accordingly. The fact that they do not “make decisions” as per the evaluation of the bosses should not be the sole factor in determining pay.
COSATU condemns, in the strongest terms, the opportunistic political exploitation of the plight of workers and incitement to violence by any groups or individuals for their own selfish ends.
We remain committed to doing whatever it will take to rebuild the confidence of the working class in the mines in the NUM and the unity of the Federation. We will work with the NUM to ensure that the mine workers who have left the NUM are brought back into the COSATU fold and to the home where they belong, and that their legitimate concerns about working and living conditions in the industry are addressed with maximum solidarity from all workers in the Federation.
Defend the NUM
Transform the Mining Industry
Forward to Decent Work for All
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 10th National Congress ” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
21-24 September 2009, Johannesburg
We the delegates, representing more than two million members across the spread of workplaces in South Africa:
1. Appreciate the opportunity as the current generation of trade unionists to take forward the vision, aims and objectives of our forbears. We rededicate ourselves to further strengthen COSATU and its affiliated unions; to build working class power in all sites of power; and to realise the objective of a living wage; better working and living conditions for workers and working class communities.
2. We emerge from the Congress emboldened and united to carry out the mission fostered upon us. It is a mission we aim to fulfil, sparing neither strength nor energy. We take this responsibility seriously and commit ourselves to realise the objective of a strong, vibrant, democratic and united workers’ movement. We are encouraged by the fact that COSATU is on a growth path and likely to reach the target to double its membership by 2015.
3. We appreciate the historic moment within which the Congress takes place. Once again, the Congress proved that COSATU is a united and mature organisation. The Congress was marked by robust and fearless debate, a hallmark of COSATU’s internal dynamism. We appreciate the invaluable and enriching inputs from our Alliance partners, the mass democratic movement and the international friends in our congress. We will work hard to retain COSATU as a true champion of the interests of workers, a fearless fighter for justice and a conscience of the nation. We shall not disappoint comrade Rolihlahla Mandela our international icon, who called on us to continue being the conscience of our young democracy.
4. It is a moment full of opportunities that can be exploited to further the aims of the national democratic revolution and for better working conditions. The historic ANC 52nd Conference has restored our hope that the ANC and the Alliance will work together to achieve common goals. The installation of the new government, led by comrade Jacob Zuma provides a new opportunity to redefine and strengthen the state; and to refashion state-society relations.
5. In particular, we welcome the willingness and openness of the new government, which we aim to use to place workers’ concerns on the table. There is breath of fresh air within the Alliance, opening the space for a democratic and mature discussion. We commit ourselves to grasp this historic opportunity to maximise workers’ gains and better the life of working class communities. The Alliance should function properly at the national and at lower levels.
6. This year marked the fifteenth anniversary of the democratic breakthrough in 1994. We salute the ANC for a stunning victory in the general elections. Once again, an overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa has placed their hopes and trust in the ANC. The ANC led democratic movement has a duty to fulfil the peoples’ desire for a better life. To that end, the movement has signed a contract with our people, expressed in the Manifesto, to fulfil the historic mission to build a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and united South Africa. We recall the prescient warning of the 1969 ANC Strategy and Tactics that a revolution that translates into elite enrichment and no substantial change in the lives of our people amounts to cosmetic and not real change!
7. The democratic breakthrough has recorded important gains for the working class and the project to build a new nation. Still, we note that the historic inequalities in terms of race, gender and class remain firmly entrenched and have to some extent widened. Underdevelopment continues to co-exist with enclaves of prosperity and wealth. Colonial-apartheid accumulation centred on extraction and export of minerals continues to date.
8. We recognise that we have made important strides to redirect the NDR and the mass movement in the last five years. However there is no time for complacency because there is no permanent victory. We must prepare to defend our gains and to deepen the struggle
9. Further, we appreciate that this historic moment poses serious challenges to the democratic movement globally. The global economic crisis caused by the unrestrained greed of the capitalists threatens to erode some of the gains of our new democracy. The loss of employment across the world coupled with 500 000 jobs lost in South Africa is a serious outcome of the crisis.
10. Capitalists, especially in the industrialised world, have been cushioned from crisis through bail-outs and nationalisation of private debts by the state. They continue to arrogantly pay themselves hefty salary packages in the midst of company failures and rapid drop in company profits. It is still a mystery how performance of company executives is determined! During bad times they get above inflation salary increases, bonuses and other incentives. During good times they reap even more. Workers on the other hand are told that it is a virtue to accept inflation-linked salary and wage increments.
Against this background we declare:
1. That we embrace the political and organisational tasks set for this Congress in the Secretariat Report. To that end we commit to develop concrete plans to implement these tasks to ensure:
a. Ideological clarity about where we are, what the forces ranging against the strategic interest of the working class are; who are our allies; and clarity about the international ideological warfare. We further commit to build Marxism-Leninism as a tool of scientific inquiry to search for answers in the contemporary world. Marxism is also a guide to action. It is also pivotal to rebuild working class confidence in its ideas and heritage.
b. A programme for transformation setting out the short-term, medium-term and long-term objectives to deepen the NDR and the attainment of socialism. The programme will reflect the multitude of challenges facing the working class at the point of production and reproduction; and in all sites of power, the state, judiciary and the media. To that end, we embrace the challenge to sharpen our ideology and theory of revolution. We will open the space for discussion in the left and empower our members and leaders to understand the different theoretical approaches.
In this context, the state should be transformed into an effective and democratic developmental state. It must have the capacity to formulate a vision and programme for development; capacity to plan and coordinate its various interventions; and capacity for implementation. In this regard, we welcome the reconfiguration of Cabinet to build the capacity of the state to plan, coordinate, implement and monitor progress. Ultimately the State President bears the responsibility to translate Alliance positions into programmes of government and to steer the ship of government. We are opposed to fragmentation of the state through building of fiefdoms or kitchen cabinets within the state.
For that reason we call for the overhaul of the content of the Green Paper on Strategic Planning. That said, COSATU is not opposed to a discussion that clearly articulates a coherent planning process and machinery to ensure an effective state. We object to the marginalisation of the Alliance and other key ministries in shaping this policy intervention prior to its public released. This is reminiscent of the past, where COSATU and the Alliance were treated like ordinary NGOs and not allies. This contemptuous attitude flies against the spirit of the recent Alliance summit and engagements. Congress calls for a discussion on this issue by the Alliance.
c. An organisational development and building programme to build the organisational machinery of the working class and the liberation movement. The programme will ensure that the organisation has vibrant structures at branch/local, provincial and national level. This will also ensure internal dynamism; democracy through heightened mass education and activism to raise the level of class consciousness. In this regard we have adopted policy proposals tabled by NALEDI as the congress for a continuing systematic organisational renewal programme.
2. Reaffirm the historical thesis that the NDR is the terrain upon which to wage a socialist struggle. Socialism is not a deferred struggle, nor is it a deferred perspective. In struggling for basic national democratic objectives, a broad national movement will be rolling back the capitalist market and constructing elements of socialism. Against this background, we commit to taking forward the task to learn the lessons of history to inform our practice today; to build a socialist movement coalescing around the SACP; develop a critical theory of the present and a theory of the transition to socialism; as well as define a vision for socialism in the 21st century. The Political Commission is hereby mandated to develop a detailed programme on the struggle for socialism.
3. We recognise the need to maximise the unity of working class forces. The working class, as a primary motive force of the NDR, bears the responsibility to unite the broadest range of social and political forces to take forward the NDR as the basis to build the momentum for socialism. To that end, we must strive for unity of the ANC, the SACP and COSATU and a vibrant and strong Alliance. Further, the organisational weaknesses that manifested in the 2009 General Elections should be tackled head on. An Alliance summit should be convened soon to address a variety of issues.
4. We commit ourselves to an unceasing battle against corruption; the use of the state and our organisations for self-enrichment; crass materialism and politics of patronage. These practices constitute a cancer that is slowly eating away the historic values of our movement, such as selflessness and service to the people. The aim of this campaign is to reassert revolutionary morality and ethics. We call for public representatives and unionists to relinquish their business interests otherwise they must leave to pursue their private interests. In future the workers will vote only for those who are genuinely pursuing the interests of the working class and the poor. Those not actively pursuing the interests of the working class do not deserve its vote.
Further we also call for a debate on how to manage the phenomenon of state officials who are using the state for private accumulation and a cooling-off period for senior managers in the state. To that end we call on state officials to choose to serve the people rather than their own private accumulation agenda. They have a choice to serve the people or to leave to pursue private agenda.
5. The response to the global economic crisis requires clear short-, medium- and long-term goals. In the short term we support the Framework Response to the Global Economic Crisis. The main objective of the programme should be to save and create jobs; stimulate production and economic growth, as well as to cushion the unemployed and the poor from the effects of the global economic crisis. We believe the framework should be linked to, and inform, a development strategy for South Africa to break out of the apartheid-colonial accumulation path. In the interim a package of measures to support local production, decent employment and incomes should entail the following:
a. A supportive macro-economic policy. Fiscal and monetary policy should support economic recovery through inter alia public investment in infrastructure project; mass public works programmes to support employment creation; an interest and exchange rate regime that support growth, employment and exports rather than a narrow focus on inflation targeting.
b. Strategic use of government procurement to support local production, empowerment and employment. To that end, we call for the review of the procurement framework consistent with our development objectives.
c. Investment in skills and human development. This entails measures to improve the school and higher education system and work place learning; measures to increase the social wage for workers through investment in efficient and affordable public transport; provision of basic services, and a functioning public health system. All these measures are critical to productivity enhancement in the workplace. In this regard as a revolutionary trade union movement we pledge to work with government to improve efficiency of the public sector.
d. The mandate of development finance institutions should be reformulated to support the agenda for development and employment creation.
6. In the long run the necessity of an industrialisation strategy and regional integration cannot be over-emphasised. South Africa and Africa in general needs to break out of dependency on exports of primary commodities.
7. The Reserve Bank which plays a crucial public mandate cannot be left in the hands of private owners. COSATU therefore calls for the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank as an asset of our people and not shareholders.
8. We are appalled by the state of health care in South Africa. Private health care continues to take the lion’s share of health resources while serving fewer than 20 percent of the population. This illustrates the inefficiency and wastage rampant in the private health care system. The push for profits in private health care is raising health care costs for ordinary workers that are members of medical schemes.
At the other end, is a poorly resourced and over-burdened public health care system, which caters for the poor. It is against this background that we will work hard to ensure the creation of a National Health Insurance Scheme. We however caution that the changes in the health care system should be sensitive to employment in the entire health system.
9. Congress is concerned with the rising burden of disease again largely concentrated among the poor. The HIV epidemic, coupled with new epidemics like N1H1 virus/swine flu and avian flu are attacks on the health and future of our nation. As delegates, we commit to step up our efforts to ensure a healthy nation. We recommit to an effective campaign to improve the quality of healthcare, particular a comprehensive HIV and AIDS strategy. Unequal access to nutritious food and healthcare add to the burden facing the poor and working class families. Congress commits to the campaign against high food prices to support access to healthy and nutritious food.
10. The struggle for a living wage is the lifeblood of the trade union movement. To that end we support the current ongoing strikes in the clothing and mining sectors. We call on all our affiliates to pledge their solidarity with these workers on strike. Further, as part of the struggle for decent employment, we call for the elimination of the practice of labour broking. We have adopted a number of resolutions on decent employment and working conditions that have implications for our labour laws. To that end, we commit to a programme to realise the aspirations of the 10th Congress to tighten labour laws to protect workers. Congress further call for:
a. The withdrawal of the threat to de-unionise the security cluster is a serious threat to workers rights. While we appreciate the sensitive role played by the security cluster, removing the right to unionise is a strong attack on the rights of workers in this sector. We also urge government to urgently attend to the grievance of members of the defence force that have been festering for many years. Some of the grievances arise from the manner in which former members of the liberation movement armies were integrated into the standing army.
b. COSATU will raise sharply the rights of disabled people, in particular in the work place. It will also step up its efforts to organise this layer of workers into the trade union movement.
c. Further, congress resolved to accelerate its effort to organise young workers into the trade union movement.
11. This congress has noted with serious concern that COSATU and its unions have not moved with the necessary speed to implement the comprehensive gender equity strategy. Further, we are worried about the position of working class Black, particularly African, women in the economy and society. They continue to be trapped in low paid jobs, employed as casuals and subcontractors; they are the hardest hit by unemployment and poverty.
The congress also notes with serious concern the new glass ceiling for women leaders in the union movement. Women occupy positions of deputy or treasurer but hardly as Presidents and General Secretaries. Our target to reach equitable (50/50) and proportional representation remains in danger. In this regard we commit ourselves to redouble our effort to ensure systematic implementation of our policies. We will further engage with the new women ministries to address the gender dynamics of inequality and poverty.
12. We also appreciate that the future of humanity is at stake. Climate change caused by reliance on fossil fuels is a reality that we must now confront. This has unleashed natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, and extreme weather patterns. South Africa is on the edge of a catastrophic water crisis, which demands a proper management of this scarce resource. The world has to act urgently to reduce emission of carbon dioxide; find new sources of renewable energy; and environmentally sound production methods.
13. We will continue to support the ANC in the next local government elections. The preparatory work must start now driven by the entire Alliance at all levels. In this instance there have to be fiscal interventions by the government to address shortcomings in service delivery faced by many municipalities. Victory in the next elections is contingent on addressing weaknesses revealed by the 2009 General Elections, especially in the Western Cape. It also depends on a strong, active and functioning Alliance at all levels. This will include convening local and regional meetings to assess the strengths and weaknesses of our local government.
14. We reaffirm our strategic goal to create a single national retirement fund as part of our strategy to control workers deferred incomes. Further to use these resources to support development and industrialisation rather than fuelling speculation in the equity and property markets. In addition we call on workers’ trustees in retirement fund to make investment decisions that support the decent work agenda. We further affirm that we will work tirelessly to build a single administration company of the retirement funds and a Workers’ Bank. In this regard we will use TEBA Bank and other institutions as vehicles and mandate the CEC to work out the modalities of achieving this aim.
15. We noted with concern the accelerated rate of liquidation in the midst of the financial and credit crunch. Workers are finding themselves in dire straits after company liquidations. In these circumstance workers lose the entire earnings. It is against that background that Congress adopted the resolution for the creation of a Liquidation Trusts to address the needs of workers in liquidated firms.
16. Sport plays an important role in uniting our people. However, Congress was appalled by the manner in which Caster Semenya was publicly humiliated. COSATU calls for those responsible for this spectacle to be held responsible and if possible removed from their positions of power. Further, we are worried by the tussle for leadership in SAFA which we believe is not in the interest of football.
17. International solidarity remains one of the weapons available to workers and the trade union movement. We commit to a programme to build a unified and fighting international trade union movement. We also commit to build a global movement for change including working through the World Social Forum. Congress noted the plight of the Palestinian people, the people of Western Sahara; the continuing blockade against Cuba; as well as the murder of trade unionists in Mexico; and the military junta in Burma which continues to hold power illegally.
Congress further notes the continuing conflicts ravaging the people of Sudan, Somalia, the DRC and battle between Eritrea and Ethiopia for hegemony in the horn of Africa. The West also plays an active role in fanning these conflicts but then cynically projects them as wars between Africans. We further noted the conditions of workers in Zimbabwe and the lack of democracy and suppression of political freedoms in Swaziland. To that end, we commit ourselves to a programme of international solidarity and to building a progressive trade union and global social justice movement. As part of the programme for international solidarity we commit to:
a. Campaign for PUDEMO to be recognised as the genuine representative of the people of Swaziland, and for that reason we urge that it be granted observer status within the AU and UN structures; and to have diplomatic offices in various countries. The South African government should grant PUDEMO humanitarian assistance similar support given to the South African liberation movement. We welcome the release of PUDEMO President, comrade Mario Masuku from the dungeon of the Swazi monarchy. We declare and call on the Swazi monarchy to contradict us, that comrade Masuku was released by mass struggles and not the kangaroo courts that pass for a system of justice in that country.
b. Call on the ILO to recognise cross border sympathy strikes especially in the same multinationals and also urge ITUC and GUFs to ensure that this right is recognised by governments and transnational corporation so that workers can protect themselves against the abuse and exploitation of TNCs as they relocate production from one country to another. Congress calls on ITUC and other global trade unions organisations to campaign for the right to embark socio-economic strikes to be enshrined in the laws of all countries.
c. Congress further calls on affiliates to engage in mass action on the 7th October 2009 to press home our demands for the banning of labour brokers by the South African government. This is also in line with the call by ITUC and GUF’s for an international day of action against precarious work.
d. Reject Judge Richard Goldstone assertion that the situation in Palestine cannot be compared to that of war. The people of Palestine have been subjected to unremitting attacks from Israel and their hope for an independent state constantly deferred.
e. To urge government to put a motion in the AU and the UN for the lifting of the United States embargo against Cuba.
We declare to the country and the world to know that we will spare neither effort nor energy to achieve the resolutions of this Congress as we march towards our thirtieth anniversary in 2015!
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 9th National Congress ” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
18-21 September 2006, Johannesburg
We delegates, gathered at our Ninth National Congress, representing 1.8 million members, hereby declare to the country and the world:
COSATU has now concluded two decades of existence and is moving towards its 30th anniversary in 2015. We are proud of this history of bold, principled, determined and steadfast struggles to improve the lot of the downtrodden masses of our people. We are deeply indebted to the pioneers who built the democratic trade union movement and the broader liberation movement and vow not to betray their vision, dreams and hopes.
We came to this Congress against a backdrop of speculation about the state of the organisation and the unity of our leadership. We hereby declare that COSATU remains a strong, vibrant, united and democratic trade union movement, passionate about economic and social justice. We emerge out of Congress encouraged and emboldened by the achievements of the Federation in the past three years and more. This gives us the determination to redouble our efforts to strengthen our movement, fight for workers’ rights and deepen democracy.
We were thrilled by the vindication of COSATU by the judge of the High Court in the case involving the state and the ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma. Fifty-one years ago, our people demanded that “all shall be equal before the law.” Our Constitution takes this principle forward through amongst others the principle that a person is innocent until proven guilty. We reiterate what our Third Central Committee said: Comrade Jacob Zuma is a victim of political conspiracy. It is now clear that the decision to dismiss him and later charge him was motivated by a political decision, not by existence of proof that he acted corruptly as alleged by his detractors. We demand that the NPA, media and so-called political analysts respect the decision of the court and leave Zuma alone.
We also came here at a time when market fundamentalism and neo-liberalism have again failed humanity. The gap dividing the poor and the rich is widening both between and within countries. In South Africa, we continue to see mass poverty, high unemployment, starvation wages for many workers and rising rates of HIV and AIDS.
Yet a new world is both possible and desirable. We shall spare no effort, energy or resources to realise a just, humane and equitable world.
Believing that we have entered a new phase of the National Democratic Revolution (NDR), we are further encouraged by the following:
- COSATU remains the union of choice among the workers and we must live up to the faith that workers have in the Federation, and their commitment to it. We realise that this places on us a heavy responsibility to meet the needs of our members.
- COSATU’s membership increased by 4% in the last three years, reversing the decline in membership experienced in the run-up to the Eighth National Congress. This membership growth attests to the fact that only through taking up struggles and a conscious recruitment campaign can we draw more workers to the fold. It is only in sectors with high union density that labour rights have become a reality. It is only through solidarity and organisation that workers can enjoy better working conditions. We have taken concrete decisions to improve solidarity amongst all affiliates of the Federation and to strengthen the effectiveness of our Living Wage Campaign.
- COSATU and its affiliates derive almost all their income from their members. To us this is a major achievement that shows COSATU belongs to members and no one else.
- The world is changing; neo-liberalism has failed and is a discredited ideology. Rich countries are unable to impose their will without challenge from developing countries, as reflected in the collapsed trade negotiations. Left-wing governments have been installed in a number of Latin American countries, shifting the balance of forces in the Western hemisphere.
We remain disappointed that the government has not adopted a far-reaching programme to transform the economy in favour of working people and the poor. Still, thanks in part to the campaigns waged by COSATU, the government has changed aspects of its policy in a manner that seeks to address some of the criticisms we have been raising. This gives us hope that we can conquer under-development, poverty and unemployment. Above all, the government has finally set targets to reduce unemployment and poverty, and has substantially increased its spending on services and infrastructure for our people. The recent agreement to reduce clothing imports from China points to the emergence of a more nuanced approach to trade.
Yet more can and should be done, and we resolve to intensify our campaigns on all fronts. Congress agreed to convene a Central Committee in September 2007 to discuss the class project that came to the fore in 1996, with the adoption of GEAR, which saw capital re-assert its influence over national economic policy.
We declare that this decade of democracy should be the decade of the working class and hereby resolve:
1. To make the Jobs and Poverty Campaign the center piece of our programme in the coming period. This will involve a number of coordinated campaigns focused on:
- The living wage for workers as a primary means to fight poverty and close the apartheid wage gap and broader inequalities in our society;
- A comprehensive plan to create quality employment on a large scale;
- A campaign against privatisation and job losses, and for the nationalisation of SASOL and other commanding heights of the economy;
- A call for an increase in taxes on company profits;
- Revision of trade and industrial policy as well as fiscal and monetary strategies to align with the objective of protecting and creating employment;
- A re-invigorated Proudly South African Buy Local Campaign;
- A review of competition policy and legislation to support job security and employment creations;
- Development of a job-loss monitoring mechanism to keep tabs on job losses in the economy; and
- Formation of a united front against poverty and unemployment.
2. To fight for the rights of workers as the fundamental basis of South Africa’s labour market policy. In this regard
- We will ensure every worker belongs to a COSATU union, since it is only through COSATU unions that workers can take advantage of their rights in the law.
- We commit ourselves to resist with all our energy and power attempts to reduce the rights of workers under the guise of “labour market flexibility.”
- We will seek to strengthen the rights of workers in small businesses, with a combination of an organising strategy and protection of the rights in the law.
- We will undertake a concerted campaign to improve organisation and conditions of farm workers.
- We will defend and expand bargaining councils as a means of securing wage coverage and improved dispute settlement for large numbers of workers.
- We will ensure full protection of casual and sub-contracted workers through changes in the labour laws and through the creation of decent jobs, and by fighting for the conversion of temporary employment into full-time employment.
- We will work for an end to police brutality and unlawful restrictions on workers’ right to demonstrate.
- We will ensure that government procurement policy helps to enforce better labour standards.
- We will fight for retention of the labour courts and NEDLAC’s role in the appointment of labour court judges. In particular, we will serve a notice at NEDLAC under Section 77 of the LRA to oppose judicial reforms that undermine the gains in the LRA.
- We will strengthen the fight against dismissals and retrenchments and challenge cases that undermine or overturn workers’ gains in the labour law.
- We will defend workers’ organisational rights, including the right to picket, and call for the review of labour laws with regard to essential services, secondary strikes, and so forth.
- We will generally work to ensure better enforcement and monitoring of labour laws.
- We will fight against racism and sexism in the workplace and to that end ensure that workers benefit from skills and equity legislation.
- We will defend the rights of all vulnerable workers with special attention to farm, domestic, casual and sub contracted workers.
- We will demand that trading be banned on our main national days.
3. To rebuild our industrial and economic base through the sharper, focused use of industrial and trade policies. To this end:
- The development of economic policies must rest on inputs by working people and the poor through the Alliance. Once the Alliance has endorsed a development strategy, all the organs of the state must implement it purposefully and strongly, without fearing to discipline capital where necessary, based on the mobilisation of our people to defend their demands and interests.
- The most important interventions must support:
- Labour-intensive activities;
- More equitable ownership, especially collective ownership through the state, worker control and co-ops, including through nationalisation of mining and other commanding heights of the economy as provided in the Freedom Charter;
- Investment in people and communities through education, skills development, and social programmes like health, welfare and housing;
- Macro-economic, trade and industrial policies that encourage, rather than stifle, growth in light industry and services;
- Increased worker organisation and protection for workers’ rights.
- Measures to achieve these ends include the development of sector strategies that ensure every major industry does more to generate decent work; procurement by the state and big business that supports local production and job creation; efforts to control import-parity pricing; policies to reduce the cost of living by ensuring more efficient and affordable infrastructure and encouraging production of basic goods and services; a redirection of competition policy to protect jobs; and greater encouragement of industries that can create employment and meet the needs of poor communities; and greater support for the development of the entire southern African region.
- COSATU will continue to work to ensure that workers’ retirement funds are invested in ways that support our transformational aims while meeting the needs of workers.
4. In order to ensure that broad-based black economic empowerment benefits the majority, it should be separated from privatisation and outsourcing; ensure an expansion of worker and community ownership, collective ownership through cooperatives and ownership by the state; close the wage gap and ensure decent work and pay for all workers, particularly black, women and casual workers; and be linked to local procurement. COSATU will engage with all BEE Charters and with the BEE Codes of Good Practice to ensure they meet the needs of working people and the poor.
5. To ensure a strong developmental focus to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. This will include demanding a framework agreement at NEDLAC on the 2010 World Cup with the following aspects: local procurement; employment creation; infrastructure development; enforcement of labour standards; clear BEE guidelines; promotion of co-ops; access to matches; and development of local football.
6. To hold a Conference on Strengthening Democracy by mid-2007 that will review issues such as constituency-based representation, regional and local-government demarcation and the role of provinces.
7. To build NEDLAC as the central forum for social dialogue, through strengthening organised labour’s focus, internal capacity and coordination. This involves:
- Developing better procedures for mandating within COSATU and labour more broadly and improved coordination of our involvement in NEDLAC. This will also include better communication and education for our members on NEDLAC engagements and agreements;
- Improved resourcing of NEDLAC to ensure that it has adequate resources to conduct its work;
- Ensuring that major policy and legislation is tabled and negotiated at NEDLAC. To that end, COSATU will work to make sure that other forums like the Presidential Working Group and the Millennium Labour Council do not displace NEDLAC as a premier institution for social dialogue.
8. To intensity solidarity between workers and affiliates. Our resolve to intensify solidarity will include setting up a solidarity fund; embarking on mass pickets in support of ongoing strikes; and a strategy in COSATU organising to co-ordinate solidarity. Further, we will review labour legislation concerning secondary/solidarity strikes.
9. To redouble our efforts to build strong and united trade unions with the following elements:
- Step up the recruitment campaign with renewed focus on organising workers that remain outside the labour movement such as workers in smaller companies with under 20 workers, domestic and farm workers, sub-contracted and temporary workers, women and young workers;
- Rebuild our structures at local, provincial and national level including by ensuring allocation of adequate resources;
- Strengthen organisational development work to ensure better management of our organisation and resources;
- Maintain internal coherence and discipline within the ranks of the trade union movement. For that reason, we will ensure democratic space to raise issues so that no member feels marginalised and excluded;
- Build a strong, united, democratic and independent trade union movement on the African continent and globally.
10. We will continue to build a unified struggle to defeat HIV and AIDS, ensuring that all our people have access to adequate solidarity, information, prevention, testing, treatment and nutrition. We recognise that this is only possible if the public health sector is qualitatively strengthened. We will expand our work with the TAC, the SACC and SANGOCO, build the new SANAC and hold a national civil society conference on HIV and AIDS.
11. Congress endorsed the 2015 Plan, which argued that we must strengthen the Alliance, the ANC and the SACP, as well as COSATU, in order to ensure that a stronger working class bias as well as greater ability to guide the state. Having said that, we will encourage a debate within the Alliance about the following:
- Combating centralisation of patronage;
- Ideological differences within the Alliance;
- Growing class contradictions within our society and movement;
- Strengthening an independent programme of the Alliance partners;
- The need for a structured agreement/pact/accord between the parties on the minimum programme to advance the NDR under the current conditions.
12. In light of the control of the media by interests outside of and often opposed to the working class, Congress agreed that COSATU would explore the possibility of establishing a workers’ newspaper.
13. International solidarity remains a critical principle for COSATU. Congress resolves to build the solidarity of workers together with all anti-imperialist forces with the following elements:
- We will seek to develop the practical solidarity of workers against the multinationals that today dominate the global economy. We will actively develop relations with other unions. We call again for the formation of a single continental confederation for Africa.
- We will continue to support the struggles of workers against regimes that are hostile to their rights. We have shown and will continue to show active solidarity with workers in Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Australia in the face of anti-labour states.
- Congress expresses its solidarity with the peoples the Middle East. We will campaign for an end to the armed aggression of the U.S., Israel and their allies in the region. We call for the release of Palestinians, Iraqis and others held unjustly and without charge. We call on COSATU members to boycott Israeli goods and to demonstrate at the embassies of the U.S. and Israel. Our government should withdraw its ambassador from Israel and the Israeli ambassador to South Africa should be expelled.
- Congress expresses its solidarity with the people of Cuba. We demand an end to U.S. aggression and threats of invasion. We also demand the release of the five Cuban heroes, and will campaign actively for their release. At the same time, we recognise and support the new progressive governments in Latin America.
- We will campaign for ratification of the ILO Conventions on home workers, part-time work, maternity protection, private employment agencies, safety and health in agriculture, employers’ insolvency, collective bargaining and employment policy. On the basis of the new ILO Recommendation on the Employment Relationship, we will campaign for the rights for workers in multiple contractual arrangements, including through joint and several liability on both the employer and the contracting party; reforms in legislation to ensure quick and easy determination of the existence of an employment relationship; measures in southern Africa to combat disguised employment relationships; and the extension of the Employment Conditions Commission or CCMA mandate to include regular reviews of ambiguous employment situations to ensure workers receive the full protection of the employment relationship.
1. Political Resolutions of the 9th National Congress
1.1 The Alliance
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Past COSATU resolutions on the Alliance.
2. A lack of democratic participation exists at all levels, with COSATU, the SACP and even to some extent the ANC itself sidelined from policy development due to the levels of centralisation of power and authority in the office of the Presidency, which has been a driver of policy development. This situation goes hand in hand with the dominant influence of big business on the policy direction of our country and the marginalisation of representative institutions from decision-making.
3. There are continuous tensions amongst the Alliance partners due to lack of consultation, lack of tolerance amongst comrades holding high positions in the Alliance partners, lack of trust amongst leadership of the Alliance partners, etc.
4. There is no alternative political organisation with the mass support of the ANC, which remains the only political party capable of fighting for a non-racial, non-sexist and free democratic society in South Africa. The ANC is however a contested terrain that is lobbied by different strata in our society. This has caused conflict within the ANC and the Alliance and a shift from the ANC’s earlier working-class bias as adopted in its Morogoro Congress of 1969.
1. The Tripartite Alliance was strategically entered into as a revolutionary vehicle to take forward the objectives of our revolution.
2. Through comradely debates, not bureaucratic suppression of debate, and properly structured processes for arriving at consensus and unity, the proper mode of functioning of the Alliance can be renewed with a focus on the strategic challenges facing our revolution.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To pursue the following principles that should guide the functioning of the Alliance:
- While led by the ANC, the partners should recognise one another’s independence in the Alliance and accord each one equal status;
- Work for mutual benefits in which there is respect and recognition of the role of each component of the Alliance while forging maximum unity;
- Strengthen one another’s formations, including providing time and resources for organisational building of the Alliance;
- Manage the tensions in the Alliance by consulting one another through meeting regularly and hammering out the issues; and
- Promote debate and discussion within the Alliance through democratic participation of the components of the Alliance and strive to resolve such debates through discussion and consensus.
2. The programme of action agreed upon in the Ekurhuleni 2 Summit must be implemented, and in particular:
- The Alliance must co-ordinate its activities and provide leadership to social transformation in all spheres of society, including civil society and the state;
- The process of policy development and its implementation should be informed on an on-going basis by a collective endeavour;
- In order to carry its programmes and maintain unity going forward, the Alliance Secretariat should meet every two weeks to co-ordinate and implement agreed-upon programmes and address other issues that may arise from time to time;
- The Alliance ten-a-side, which is meant to address policy matters of importance, should meet quarterly for a full day to consider matters advanced by the Secretariat of the Alliance;
- The Alliance as agreed upon must be convened to develop a longer-term programme of the Alliance on the specific questions that were canvassed in the recent bilaterals between COSATU and the ANC;
- The structure of the Alliance must be reviewed so that all the partners will play a meaningful role in pursuit of the National Democratic Revolution in all battles of the struggle for both national and social liberation.
3. The interactions of the Alliance should be led by all Alliance partners’ leadership, in particular the top six leaders of each Alliance component.
4. The political centre must be properly defined and constituted as a representative force of the Alliance capable of executing the tasks set by the National Democratic Revolution.
5. The structure of the Alliance must be reviewed such that all the partners will play a meaningful role in the pursuit of the National Democratic Revolution in all battles of the struggle for both national and social liberation.
6. There should be thorough preparation for the transition programme from capitalism to socialism. The radical character of the National Democratic Revolution remains high on the agenda of the working class and must become the guiding force for a coherent Alliance programme aimed at eliminating all forms of inequality.
7. To initiate a debate within the Alliance in the build-up to the 2007 ANC conference and SACP 11th Congress around the restructuring of the Alliance to make it an effective tool for social transformation. This debate should include the following:
- Combating centralisation and patronage;
- Confronting and debating ideological differences within the Alliance;
- Confronting and debating growing class contradictions within the ANC, including the current accumulation path, which is creating a black bourgeoisie, and the need to maintain a pro-working-class, pro-poor agenda and leadership within the ANC and the Alliance;
- Strengthening the independent programmes of the Alliance partners, e.g. debates about the SACP putting forward candidates should not be seen in opposition to the Alliance strategy;
- The need for a more structured “pact” between the parties, with conditions and agreed minimum goals. This should include agreements on deployments and quotas for representation of the different Alliance partners at every level, with independent caucuses and the power of recall to ensure accountability.
8. An Alliance-led deployment committee should oversee the whole process of deployment.
9. Mutual respect should be observed between all members of the alliance.
10. Sufficient time should be given to engage on crucial matters for consideration. This will lead to less tension between the partners of the Alliance.
11. In the event the SACP decides to contest the next elections, COSATU should call a special Central Committee to consider the Federation’s position.
1-2 Advancing working-class hegemony within the ANC
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The current class composition of the structures of the ANC.
2. That COSATU, as a component of the working class, has a class interest in the policy direction that the ANC and the state pursue.
3. That while the historical constituency of the ANC remains the black working class and poor majority, the national leadership of the ANC is increasingly becoming capitalist and middle-strata in composition and character. Furthermore the organisation is also dominated by cadres drawn from the state and there are far too few cadres from outside of the state. Working-class leadership has been weakened within the national leadership structures of the ANC.
4. The undefined role of ANC in relation to the state has rendered the ANC ineffective in relation to the mass movements and connections with the masses of our people.
5. A leadership debate underway in our country has polarised the Alliance formations, and COSATU, as a component of the working class, has a class interest in who leads the ANC and what policy direction the ANC and the state develop and pursue.
6. It has become a habit to elevate individuals over principle, undermining the revolutionary morality that has guided the liberation movement.
7. The resolution of the Eighth National Congress for COSATU members to “swell the ranks of the ANC.”
As an organised formation of the working class, we have a principled and non-sectarian interest in the working-class biasness of the ANC, and the policy orientation and leadership of the ANC must reflect its working-class biasness.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. That the Eighth National Congress resolution on swelling the ranks of the ANC must be based on the following guidelines:
- Working-class cadres must ensure that activities of the ANC structures (including meeting agendas) are dominated by working-class issues and concerns such as the pursuit of all the Freedom Charter demands, and not dominated by narrow BEE interests, tenders, factionalism etc.;
- Working-class cadres must contest for leading positions of the ANC to ensure that business personalities do not dominate the ANC;
- Working-class cadres must expose the post-1996 class project, its limitations and its crisis. This must not be done in a factionalist manner, but in a manner that encourages debate and discussion within the ANC structures;
- Working-class cadres must promote the unity of the Alliance and involvement of the Alliance in all activities of the ANC and visa versa.
2. The structures of the affiliates and the Federation must on an ongoing basis do an audit to assess whether we are realising the decision which calls on our members to swell the ranks of the ANC and participate within the structures of the ANC.
3. Debates of the leadership of the ANC must be informed by our political objectives stated in this resolution as well as endeavours to unite the liberation movement.
a. The first Central Committee after this Ninth National Congress must enter into a principled debate and resolve on the programme that must unite the liberation movement and identify leadership which can best pursue a programme in the interest of the working class;
b. Upon resolving on the above, the Central Committee must give a mandate to the Central Executive Committee and the National Office Bearers to manage this process so that it is not handled in a factionalist way within the structures of the Alliance.
4. While COSATU will continue to support the ANC in the next period, we note that currently the ANC is dominated by the interests of capital rather than the working class. COSATU at its first CEC in 2007 should develop a set of policy objectives against which to measure the extent to which the ANC is able to shift to represent the interest of the working class. The criteria shall include:
- Implementing the nationalisation provisions of the Freedom Charter;
- An end to privatisation, public-private partnerships and the commercialisation and commodification of service delivery;
- The adoption of economic policy that ensures the distribution of wealth to the poor;
- The abolition of legislation that is not worker-friendly.
5. The criteria must include measurable outcomes, with specified timescales so that by June 2008 we are able to assess the extent to which these criteria have been met. The hope is that other unions, NGOs and social movements will generate their own list of demands. In this way all issues will be covered.
6. On the basis of progress made in this regard, the COSATU CEC shall deliberate on the way forward.
7. Through systematic implementation of the 2015 Plan, in particular the call on workers to swell the ranks of the ANC, to reclaim ownership of the ANC so that it becomes a true instrument of people’s power and plays a positive role towards the achievement of a free, just and equal South Africa. To this end, our members, particularly the leadership, should bring their ANC membership cards to all Constitutional meetings as proof and encouragement to other members to join. The CEC has a responsibility to monitor this adequately.
8. The forthcoming ANC national conference presents another opportunity for the working class to assert its leadership of the NDR.
9. To popularise our understanding that the ANC must have a pro-poor/pro-working-class bias, and be an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist liberation movement.
1-3 The SACP and state power
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The Eighth National Congress resolution on building the SACP.
2. The lack of resources in the SACP makes it difficult for it to conduct its political work more effectively.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To reaffirm the Eighth National Congress resolution on building a strong, independent SACP as an instrument of the working class, including through the provision of resources by the Federation and affiliates.
2. To create clear mechanisms to synergise the SACP’s medium-term vision and COSATU’s 2015 Plan, and to locate any decision on the SACP’s participation in the elections in that context. The SACP should engage other Alliance partners to determine the manner in which it will enter the electoral processes.
3. To call on the SACP to unite the progressive left formations, including left-wing political formations committed towards a radical transformation and socialism. Part of the work to achieve the above requires the following:
- The SACP needs to initiate the unity of the left movements that believe in socialism as part of a process of building a popular movement towards socialism, including convening the Conference of the Left;
- The SACP needs to work hard in its work to transform trade union consciousness into working-class consciousness;
- The SACP must link working-class political consciousness with other forms of social consciousness.
4. In the event the SACP deciding to contest political power as the independent working class party, the Alliance should be engaged to determine the manner in which the SACP would enter the electoral process, and mobilise the electorate for that eventuality.
5. The SACP must now begin to develop policy positions on the following key areas of state power: the nature of the developmental state; land redistribution; developing fundamental basic necessities; deployment of Communist cadres in strategic centres of power; contesting elections; and commitment of resources for recruitment to take forward the COSATU’s 2015 Plan and the SACP’s Medium Term Vision.
6. COSATU and the SACP must have a clear programme on a path to socialism that would encourage individual members to make financial contributions to the SACP. The CEC must ensure a systematic campaign to strengthen the debit order campaign. Any contributions from workers and affiliates to the SACP should be on a voluntary basis.
7. COSATU leadership must lead by example and be card-carrying members of the SACP.
8. COSATU will set up its own taskteam, constituted by affiliates’ General Secretaries and NALEDI, to conduct a detailed and deep but urgent global survey of the prospects for socialism in South Africa. The survey must.
- Seek to establish how much support among South African workers of all races exists for the SACP to contest political power towards a socialist South Africa;
- Identify ways to forge direct working relationships with progressive working people and political formations throughout the world;
9. The process must culminate in a draft Manifesto of the Working Class in South Africa that will inform all the campaigns of the Federation and the SACP.
10. COSATU must design a short, medium and long term sequenced political and education programme of action for its members to ensure that by the time of the Fourth Central Committee it has concrete proposals on the way forward towards a socialist South Africa. These proposals should be placed before the SACP. COSATU must develop programmes and activities that expose the agenda behind the post-1996 class project and its threat to our NDR.
11. The NOBs must table at the first CEC in 2007 a time-bound programme of work with clear allocation of responsibilities for achieving these resolutions on socialism.
1-4 The National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and socialism
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The persistent dominance of a perspective that separates national democracy from socialism, with the so-called “Third Way” dominating the international political discourse.
2. A conservative economic policy that limits spending on social and economic development programmes, while business wants to roll back the progressive labour regime established after 1994.
3. A revolution is worth nothing if it cannot defend itself and seize state power.
4. Historically, the NDR has always provided a clear and unambiguous attitude towards socialism. Currently, the clear dangers are that the historical attitude of the NDR towards socialism is being challenged within the Alliance.
5. Since the April 1994 democratic breakthrough, while the theory of the NDR has been fully adopted by the ANC through its strategy and tactics, the relationship between the NDR and socialism has not been fully discussed within the ANC itself. Failure to address this question has been partly responsible for the rupture on our shared understanding of the NDR.
6. The strategic socialist direction of the NDR has been increasingly challenged by a capitalist agenda, for example through the post-1996 class project.
7. In recent times, the leadership role of the NDR has been taken over by other class forces, particular the capitalist class. This is demonstrated by the fact that the capitalist class (black or white) has been the main beneficiary since the April 1994 democratic breakthrough.
8. The current trajectory of the NDR, if left unchallenged, can deliver our revolution into the hands of the capitalist class.
1. The NDR seeks to resolve national, class and gender contradictions in our society and lay the basis for socialism, which means it must affect property relations.
2. Because of the multi-class character of the NDR, various class forces continue to contest its essence.
3. Since the ascendancy of the ANC into power, the primary contradiction has begun to elevate itself, with a life-and-death fight now underway for the control of the ANC between the working class and the comprador, parasitic, aspirant black capitalist class.
4. The comprador element has gained access and influence through the office of the Presidency in policy formulation to disarm and re-direct the NDR from its socialist orientation envisaged in the Morogoro and Kabwe conferences and the Green Book.
5. The post-1996 class project is in deep crisis and the solution can only be provided by a working class leadership of the NDR. The solution requires a complete break with the policies promoted or advanced by this class project.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. The Alliance is meant to achieve a minimum programme and, given its multi-class character and the associated limitations, the Alliance cannot be the vehicle to achieve an egalitarian society.
2. The working class must re-direct the NDR towards socialism and jealously guard it against opportunistic tendencies that are attempting to wrest it from achieving its logical conclusion, which is socialism.
3. The working class should assert its leadership role of the NDR, and not outsource this leadership role to other class forces.
4. The working class must mobilise society and all progressive forces against the current macroeconomic framework.
5. We must bring back the fundamental thrust of the Freedom Charter and the RDP on nationalisation of key and strategic industries.
6. The state should take drastic steps on the redistribution of wealth, e.g. via the tax system.
7. This decade must be dedicated to a struggle to challenge and defeat the dominance of white monopoly capital, which reproduces itself through the emerging parasitic black capitalists. We must consistently expose and struggle against the neo-liberal agenda of the state, which leads to the growing impoverishment of the working class and the poor.
8. The National Liberation Movement as led by the ANC should speed up the process of reviewing the clauses affecting the working class in the national Constitution that could contribute towards a developmental state. The sunset clause entered into with the National Party should be reviewed.
9. We should define in practical terms the political economy of the NDR in the current epoch as articulated in the Freedom Charter.
10. We adopt an official position that rejects the separation of the NDR from socialism and asserts that the dictatorship of the proletariat is the only guarantee that there will be a transition from NDR to socialism.
11. A popular movement towards socialism, located within a restructured Alliance and involving a range of mass movements, must be formed to assert the leadership of the working class in the NDR.
12. To directly call for an open debate and discussion within the ANC (and the Alliance as a whole) on the relationship between the NDR and socialism. This debate must be accommodated at the 2007 ANC National conference.
1-5 Strengthening democracy
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The current Constitution was a compromise with many problematic elements such as the property clause, the promotion of a degree of federalism and the electoral system that does not promote accountability of people’s representatives.
2. The degree to which a federal system in the form of provincial legislatures has become wasteful of resources permits destructive competition amongst provinces, prevents radical redistributive measures, and marginalises citizens who live in smaller or poorer provinces.
3. The Eighth National Congress resolution on the electoral system called for a mixed electoral system at national, provincial and local level and specifically proposed 65% constituency-based and 35% proportional representation.
Our democracy must be anti-imperialist and jealously safeguard the interest of popular classes and the sovereignty to make its policies.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. Floor-crossing legislation must be totally scrapped.
2. To seek to convince our Alliance partners on the need to test the attitude of the electorate toward a constituency-based electoral system through a referendum. To this end a ballot should be conducted of all people during May and June 2007.
3. A constitutional review/amendment conference should be convened as soon as possible after the 2007 ANC conference. Its primary tasks would include:
- Developing mechanisms to incorporate systematically the Freedom Charter economic clauses and deal systematically with the property clause;
- Developing a process of abolishing provincial legislatures and establish a unitary system of government;
- Reviewing and reworking the present electoral system on the basis of the current COSATU proposals for a mixed electoral system.
4. To campaign for inclusion of these demands in the manifesto of the ANC, and mandate the leadership of COSATU to pursue them in Alliance meetings.
5. The Alliance must develop a people-centred and people-driven consultation process on demarcation, and provide guidance to the demarcation board.
6. Participatory democracy must be the defining feature in which the state fosters popular involvement in governance and decision-making processes.
1-6 Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. This year, 50 years after the 1956 women’s march to Pretoria to protest the pass laws, the struggle for women’s total emancipation is far from over.
2. The way in which gender issues are raised, even in the past decade of our democracy, has focused mostly on women representivity at the expense of broader issues affecting women.
3. The current top-down approach adopted by organisers of the National Women’s Movement (NWM) undermines the intention of empowering women in all sectors of society.
4. The emergence of other social and support groups like the Progressive Women`s Movement of South Africa aiming to empower women, which could however be hijacked by elitist and BEE-type groups, which would reproduce and exacerbate the economic and social oppression of women and widening inequalities in South Africa.
1. The time has come for the working class of South Africa, 12 years into democracy, to define a clear working-class perspective on the thorny issue of not only the triple (class, national and gender) oppression and exploitation of women, but also how to most effectively mobilise all working-class women and men to struggle for full and true equality within and between the sexes.
2. The same radical approach that we have used to fight racial discrimination and class oppression must be adopted in the struggle to fight for gender inequality and women.
3. The struggle for gender equality should be waged by women and men. The gender content of our revolution cannot be addressed effectively unless we have a strong working-class-led progressive women’s movement at the head of such a struggle.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. A forum of women activists within COSATU and SACP should be established to develop intervention strategies to promote working-class leadership as well as take up issues affecting women workers and the poor within the progressive women’s movement.
2. To support the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa and its aim of empowering women and removing gender bias. All women in South Africa must own the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa.
3. COSATU should build a new working relationship with the Progressive Women’s Movement of South Africa only around specific issues that are pro-poor and pro-women workers.
4. COSATU Provincial Gender Structures must be the driving force to take issues to the Progressive National Women’s Movement of South Africa. The gender structures must:
- Develop a clear programme that deals with poor women’s struggles in society, and
- Develop a clear reporting structure, i.e. at local level, regional level, provincial and national level.
5. Women in COSATU must be encouraged to join the ANC and SACP women structures.
1.7 Monuments to worker heroes:
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Workers have always been in the forefront of the liberation struggle, but many who sacrificed enormously have not been sufficiently profiled as heroes and heroines of our struggle.
2. The failure to profile these leaders could mean the new generation loses its knowledge of its history.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. COSATU recognise the role played by workers in the struggle by building monuments in their towns.
2. COSATU recognise the role played by working-class leaders by building a workers’ monument, and engage government on building a museum for worker heroes and heroines.
3. The affiliates will submit names of the past heroes and heroines to COSATU, and the CEC be mandated to establish a task team to receive the names and verify them before compiling a final list for consideration to the first CEC of COSATU in 2007.
1-8 Special Resolution on the Deputy President of the ANC
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The outcome of the case against the Deputy President of the ANC in the Pietermaritzburg High Court.
2. The comments of the judge about the case.
3. The role of the NPA and other state agencies in building a case against the Deputy President of the ANC through the use of media and unsupported insinuations.
4. The failure to protect the basic Constitutional rights of the Deputy President of the ANC.
5. The position adopted by COSATU to defend the basic Constitutional rights of the Deputy President of the ANC.
6. The continued controversy surrounding the arms deal and COSATU’s call for a full investigation of the arms deal.
1. That COSATU and the Deputy President of the ANC have been vindicated.
2. The NPA and other state agencies have not acted in good faith and should not be used for narrow political ends.
3. That the constitutional rights of all citizens must be protected.
4. That corruption needs to be combated and rooted out.
5. That attempts to re-introduce charges on this case will amount to a malicious prosecution of Jacob Zuma.
6. That the judgement in the Shabir Shaik case, insofar as it makes a finding on Jacob Zuma, undermines the common law principle of hearing both sides.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To call for the urgent convening of the Alliance to discuss the political management of this matter.
2. To call for the judiciary to protect South African democracy without being influenced.
3. The Scorpions should be incorporated into the South African police services under one Commissioner.
4. To reaffirm the decisions of the Central Committee of COSATU in relation to the support for the ANC Deputy President Jacob Zuma, including the call for a full and impartial investigation into the arms deal.
5. To welcome the judgement and to call on all parties to respect it, and to congratulate the Deputy President of the ANC on the outcome of his court case. In addition, Jacob Zuma should be treated as any other innocent citizen.
6. To call for the legal moves against the Deputy President of the ANC to be laid to rest once and for all.
7. To call for a review of the activities and role of the NPA and other state agencies.
8. To call for the immediate reinstatement of Comrade Jacob Zuma to the position of Deputy President of South Africa.
2. Organisational Resolutions
2.1 Constitutional amendments
This Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To replace all references to “Region” with “Province” wherever it appears in the constitution and any reference to “Regional Office Bearers” in the constitution must be replaced with “Provincial Office Bearers”.
2. Term of office for Local Office Bearers: The term of office for local office bearers to be aligned to that of the provincial and national office bearers i.e. 3 years.
3. Removal of Local Office Bearers: To add a new paragraph 8.5 in the constitution that deals with the “Removal of the Local Office Bearers,” as follows:
“ A Local Office Bearer shall vacate his/her position if he/she:
- No longer pays union subscriptions to his/her affiliate subject to provisions of affiliate’s Constitution.
- Has not attended three consecutive meetings of the Local Shop Stewards Council or Local Executive Committee without sending a reasonable written apology.
- Is no longer employed and or has resigned from the workplace and ceases to be a member of the affiliated union in good standing.”
In addition, to add a new paragraph 8.6 as follows:
“In the event that there is a suspension of a Local Office Bearer, he/she shall temporary vacate his/her position until the matter has been finalised or alternatively, in the event where a Local Office Bearer has been suspended by his/her union, such office bearer shall temporarily vacate his her position until his/her suspension process have been finalised.
4. Duties of the Central Committee (CC): The CC duties to be clearly defined and to deal with the assessment and the implementation of resolutions, not only to draft resolutions on urgent matters at the time of the CC.
5. To amend the Constitution so that only stewards or elected worker representatives or the office bearers of affiliates in good standing are eligible for election to the positions of President, Deputy President, Second Deputy President, and Treasurer.
2.2 Farm workers, farm dwellers, labour tenants and land reform
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Twelve years into democracy, farm workers’/dwellers’ access to a better life is still a pipe dream. Farm workers/dwellers and their next of kin continue to be intimidated and brutally killed by farm owners and generally continue to suffer tenure insecurity, poverty, indignity, and even child labour and forced labour.
2. Farm workers and labour tenants have not benefited from land reform, instead facing evictions reminiscent of the apartheid era. The market-based land reform policy of the State cannot benefit the poor majority of rural people.
3. Farm workers and labour tenants face an often indifferent police and judiciary as well as inadequate support from Department of Labour inspectors and other government representatives.
1. New policy proposals concerning farm workers’, farm dwellers’ and labour tenants’ housing must include proper participation by those who are directly affected.
2. Organising and servicing farm workers is a mammoth task that needs to be adequately resourced in the light of the difficult terrain of the agricultural sector, ranging from distance and poor roads, to scarce transport, trespass and private property laws, private security etc.
3. Farm workers’ limited union membership is a major factor behind their continued oppression. There are about million farm workers – almost one worker in ten in South Africa – but only about 10% belong to a union.
4. The current recruitment campaign budget should cover or include the organising of farm workers and farm dwellers as part of the 2015 Plan.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To roll out a grassroots media campaign, using a widely adopted declaration condemning slavery, indignity, and poverty on farms and in the agribusiness sector.
2. To call for a special Tripartite Alliance Summit to decide on programmes to address the plight of farm workers/dwellers.
3. All affiliates must set aside resources for recruitment campaign in line with previous Congress resolutions. COSATU CEC should make available resources to focus on organising farm workers.
4. To set up a COSATU Campaigns Committee to roll-out an organising plan and campaign strategy, taking into account the ongoing processes of land and agrarian reform and the SACP’s Red October Campaign, with the following elements:
- a. The concept of roving health and safety representatives be adopted as a way of improving occupational health and safety on farms in order to complement the work of existing Government inspectors.
- b. The transformation of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies through the establishment of an investigating agency against abuses and murders of farm workers and their families.
5. To call on the Department of Labour to speed-up the implementation of a new campaign, with trade unions and civil society, to liberate farm workers as agreed at the meeting on 31 March 2006 concerning the continued sub-ordination and abuse of farm workers. The campaign could have the following items:
- To reaffirm our commitment to the total elimination of child labour in the agricultural sector;
- To advocate that the Department of Education defines farm schools as “no-fee schools” and organises adequate scholar transport;
- To advocate that the Department of Health prioritises farm worker access to mobile clinics and emergency medical treatment, including transport by public and private ambulance services;
- To advocate that the State expropriate land for the roll out of government services and amenities such as schools and health care facilities, and where appropriate, cemeteries;
- To ensure that farm workers, farm dwellers and labour tenants have identity documentation, knowledge of, and access to, social grants like child support grants, old-age pensions and disability grants, amongst others;
- To advocate that government, in partnership with trade unions and civil society, develop and implement a proactive strategy to ensure security of tenure for farm workers, farm dwellers and labour tenants.
6. To call for government to speed up the implementation of a farm worker, farm dweller and labour tenant housing policy that is based on direct and proper consultation with those who are directly affected and a full consideration of the impact of each policy option (e.g. on-farm housing and other proposals).
7. Farm workers and dwellers should have access to basic services and infrastructure.
8. Contribute to the building of popular structures or organs of the rural poor struggling for a comprehensive agrarian reform in the countryside.
9. Call on government to introduce a moratorium on evictions of farm workers and dwellers.
10. Call on government to engage civil society organisations in the land sector and affected communities in a transparent and participatory process to review existing legislation aimed at protecting tenure security of the rural poor, especially women and children.
2.3 Quota system in the Federation
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The 2003 Congress resolved that the quota system applicable to the Federation should be set by the CEC and quota systems applicable to affiliates should be set by affiliates. It said that quotas should be based on the share of women in membership and the need to rapidly develop women leadership.
2. The CEC of the Federation has not set a quota for itself, and many affiliates have not met their own quotas. The public face of the Federation remains almost exclusively male.
3. Women continue to be marginalised in the Federation and its affiliates. Gender equality is not just about numbers and quotas but also about eliminating the psychological, economic and social oppression that women have to endure as a result of male chauvinism and patriarchal society.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To reaffirm the Eighth Congress Resolutions on gender.
2. COSATU must raise a developmental path that will not only talk to representivity but also be able to address situations in which ordinary women are affected. We must reaffirm empowerment of women in all Federation policies.
3. By the next Congress to provide an assessment on achievement of balanced gender representation, taking into account the proportion of women members in the union. By 2015, where applicable, all affiliates should have a 50% quota of women at all leadership levels. Women workers must be encouraged to participate in all decision-making structures of the Federation, taking into account sectoral dynamics.
4. Affiliates and COSATU should develop a guide to report with regard to women development through scorecards and an annual audit. All the affiliates of COSATU must conduct thorough audits of their gender programmes and take concrete steps to ensure that their members are not polluted by the fashionable elitist, rightwing and capitalist philosophies that only serve to entrench gender inequalities, no matter how sweet sounding and well intentioned they may be.
5. The Federation and its affiliates must implement capacity building programmes for women workers that remove the stereotypes and indoctrination of the past and debate the issues of patriarchy and stereotypes within our structures.
6. COSATU must take practical measures and steps, through the production and running of a national gender programme, to instil in all members a working class and scientific Marxist-Leninist attitude to the question of gender. The gender programme must include education and teachings on revolutionary culture, socialisation, sexuality and relationships. It must combat male chauvinism, the culture and practice of the patriarchy, and all social and psychological aspects, which perpetuate inequalities and exploitation and oppression between the sexes.
7. COSATU and all its affiliates must always seek to understand, and explain to the masses, how the current capitalist accumulation path continuously produces and reproduces the historic exploitation, oppression and domination of women. In particular, COSATU needs to urgently conduct research to audit the extent to which BEE has negatively impacted on the struggle to liberate women from class, gender and national oppression and exploitation.
8. Resource should be allocated to build capacity of women and enable gender structure to carry out their work.
9. NALEDI to conduct research on women representation and submit findings to the CEC for consideration.
10. Within male dominated sectors gender discrimination should be vigorously addressed and equity plans should be implemented.
2.4 Solidarity amongst COSATU affiliates
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Workers continue to wage heroic struggles in defence of their living standards, mainly in the form of strikes.
2. Our strikes are often isolated since there is very little active solidarity from workers in other sectors of the economy. Solidarity in COSATU is too often defined in general terms instead of ensuring practical internal solidarity.
3. Different approaches by individual COSATU affiliates towards collective bargaining gives employers leeway to defeat or frustrate them, weakens solidarity from other affiliates, and makes it difficult to measure affiliates’ successes and failures.
4. The current ongoing strikes in different sector led by COSATU unions.
5. Aggression by bosses including the employment of scab labour with the aim of undermining the workers strikes.
1. The current strikes require urgent co-ordination and solidarity.
2. The importance of rebuilding the foundation of worker solidarity.
3. The need for political intervention.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. COSATU Congress should resolve on common collective bargaining guidelines and a single forum for COSATU affiliates.
2. Affiliates must provide regular reports on strikes and other collective disputes to the Federation through joint mandating committees.
3. To mandate the CEC:
- To ensure that a comprehensive capacity building programme on strike organisation is developed for all organisers and negotiators.
- To facilitate regular sharing of information on strike tactics amongst affiliates.
- To redefine the role of the Organising Unit to ensure that it gives strikes the necessary focus and attention.
- To establish a campaigns forum or structure that will constantly monitor and develop strikes and solidarity organisation, as well as related solidarity action across affiliates instead of each affiliate or even the company on strike left on its own and merely receiving moral message of support without concrete action.
- To consider establishing solidarity funds both at affiliates and Federation level. The CEC should develop a policy on the utilisation of the fund. Strike funds should aim to help workers during strikes due to lost wages.
4. COSATU to assist its affiliates in cases of need for sustenance of their industrial actions over a long period of time.
5. To review labour law provision on secondary/solidarity strike.
6. COSATU should immediately organise a well-coordinated programme of mass pickets in support of the current strikes.
7. COSATU should work towards a day of action in solidarity with the strikes.
8. COSATU should target companies that undermine strikes including calling on government not to grant tenders to such companies.
3. Socio-Economic Resolutions
3.1 Jobs and Poverty Campaign
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The continued relevance of the resolutions of the 2003 COSATU Congress on the Proudly SA Campaign, restructuring and job losses and the declaration on the strength of the rand.
2. More than ten years into the democratic dispensation, our society is still ravaged by extremely high levels of unemployment, poverty arising from unemployment and low pay for workers, extremely high levels of inequality; and high school drop out rates due to poor budgets and unaffordable school fees.
3. Globalisation has led to the restructuring of the working class through mass retrenchments and layoffs and the expansion of casual, temporary, outsourced and other atypical work.
4. Import levels have caused serious damage to many industries, particularly in clothing, textile and footwear and other light manufacturing sectors
5. The medium-term vision of the Federation the 2015 plan places the defence and creation of quality jobs firmly on the Federation’s agenda, in line with the commitments of the Freedom Charter and the RDP to ensuring work for all.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. The Jobs and Poverty Campaign should be the centrepiece of COSATU and affiliate campaigns in the three years ahead.
2. The campaign should include a focus on the following components:
- A living wage for workers as the primary means of combating growing poverty. The living wage should be the cornerstone of the work of the trade union movement.
- A comprehensive plan to create quality jobs and to ensure that the millions of unemployed are able to work in conditions of decent work. In addition the state should provide a living unemployed benefit.
- Our campaign to stop privatisation and job losses. The state should provide permanent, quality jobs in the public service and not temporary, low-paid jobs as envisaged in the Extended Public Works Programme.
- The state should increase tax on company profits and the rich while scrapping VAT.
- Trade agreements should not undermine the capacity of developing countries to build a strong economic base, and in this context we reject the attempts through the WTO to have further trade liberalisation that would cause massive job losses in South Africa and a number of other countries of the south or to coerce developing countries to expand trade negotiations, and hence limit national government sovereignty, on issues such as services, investment and government procurement. .
- Fair trade as a basis for our trading relationship with other countries, with respect for worker rights in all trading nations, fair access for developing countries to the markets of developed countries and fair prices for goods from the South. We do not accept the suggested trade-off between agreed market access on agriculture in the north, with opening of markets in the south, since the goal of the trade talks are to foster a development round
- Industrial policy measures and framework to rebuild and modernise our manufacturing base, create strong links between services and manufacturing and beneficiate more local products.
- Labour market policies and laws that promote quality jobs, decent work and rights for all workers, including those at small businesses and strengthening of bargaining councils
- Economic policies to ensure that all policies promote the growth of decent work (more jobs and better jobs for all).
- A 2010 World Cup that is developmental in focus and creates quality jobs. The 2010 World Cup to be bound by an Agreement to support the Proudly SA campaign and promote fair labour standards.
- The Proudly SA and buy ‘locally manufactured’ campaigns as ways of retaining jobs in South Africa, with public sector and retailer commitments to the campaigns. Government procurement should support the local industry and all three levels of government should, wherever possible, procure all their goods from companies who manufacture them locally, with respect for the rights of workers. Retailers should ensure that at least 75% of their light consumer goods (clothing, footwear, food, plastics, etc) are manufactured locally and should enter into a Code on Procurement with the union movement to achieve this.
- Government tender standards should include observance of fair labour standards as well as local procurement.
- Competition authorities should be bound to a strong job security and job creation mandate and should be required to work with trade unions to ensure compliance with this mandate.
- Worker cooperatives must be considered as one key means of saving jobs
- To review insolvency laws to ensure that saving jobs become a priority.
3. To welcome the quota introduced on clothing and textile products from China, and in this context to:
- Call on retailers to shift their sourcing to companies that manufacture in South Africa
- Launch a public information campaign aimed at consumers and workers, to draw attention to the job losses caused by imports
- Monitor the buying patterns of retailers through partnerships between SACCAWU and other manufacturing unions and take further action should sourcing not be shifted to South Africa
4. To have a full discussion around the nature of the demands as well as the tactics of the campaign in all COSATU and affiliate structures.
5. Our mass strikes and protest actions should not only take a one-day form but should be sustained until our demands are met.
6. The demands should also focus on key demands such as for the nationalisation under workers’ control of the commanding heights of the economy, industries or companies where retrenchments are envisaged or have taken place.
7. COSATU and the SACP must do everything in their power to redirect the energy of the state towards a planned economy capable of meeting the needs of the people and the poor; such a planned economy must not rule out the possibilities for nationalisation and redistribution of the country’s vast and enormous material resources.
8. To reject free trade agreements (bilateral or multilateral) that will lead to job losses, and work with unions elsewhere in the world to defeat attempts through WTO agreements to limit policy space for developing countries.
9. To have a national retrenchment monitoring system, initially on information supplied by COSATU and the other trade union Federations with quarterly data released to the public, with a view to an agreement at Nedlac for the general release of this information.
10. To actively involve ourselves in community campaigns for the provision of basic social services, including the right to decent housing, education, transport and health (free provision of ARVs by state hospitals, etc).
11. To form coalitions with all forces committed to the objectives of the Jobs and Poverty Campaign.
12. To form a United Front Jobs and Poverty Campaign Forum, consisting of COSATU, affiliates and our allies and supporters of the campaign, community organisations, NGOs, SACP etc. that will meet regularly and co-ordinate the campaign.
13. The campaign should be built from the bottom-up and not driven only as a high-profile media campaign by a few leaders. To this extent industrial and community locals have to be resuscitated and resourced.
14. Attention should be focussed on weaker affiliates to ensure strengthening of COSATU in the provinces and meaningful participation of all workers in the campaign.
15. A concerted attempt within affiliates and by the Federation should be made to organise the unemployed, informal workers and casuals. This should be co-ordinated by the COSATU organisers’ forum.
16. The Central Executive Committee and the Central Committee should ensure full implementation of the different elements and to give effect to the existing COSATU policies.
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Extensive COSATU resolutions on HIV/AIDS at previous congresses and Central Committees.
2. That 80% of AIDS related deaths are from TB.
3. The emergence of multi-drug resistant TB is of grave concern.
4. That our health system is crumbling under the dual burden of TB and HIV and AIDS.
5. The emergence of the fatal XDR TB resulting from failure of the Department of Health to respond with urgency on early warnings.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To reaffirm resolutions of the Eighth National Congress.
2. To support systems at workplaces and strengthen the practical side of the education and treatment components of the campaign.
3. To set a target of 100 000 workers a month to be covered by union workplace communication on HIV and AIDS.
4. To train 20 000 peer educators annually.
5. To continue campaigning for free care and treatment for people living with HIV and AIDS accessed from where it is convenient for the person.
6. Normalisation of HIV infection as with other medical conditions (diabetes, hypertension, asthma etc.
7. The Department of Health must do its job to protect society from unfounded claims of cures for HIV and AIDS in violation of the laws of the country.
8. To square our efforts on prevention.
9. Employers should be encouraged to adopt orphanages.
10. To call for urgent action in producing drugs believed to be effective against XDR TB.
11. That the Minister of Health must declare a national disaster and reintroduce the vertical programmes to deal with these diseases.
12. Government must meet immediately with COSATU health sector affiliates and other social formations together with the World Health Organisation to address the emergency that TB, especially XDR TB, represents to South Africa and to design a public response with all concerned.
3.3 Import-parity pricing
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Import-parity pricing by monopolistic producers is stifling the growth of downstream manufacturing in South Africa and pushes up the prices of low-cost housing, food and medicine.
2. The unregulated export of scrap metal also deprives local producers of needed inputs.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To ensure that the practice of import-parity pricing in our industries is corrected, and to campaign against upstream companies who persist in pursuing this practice at the expense of downstream industries.
2. To push for the regulation of key industries involved in the manufacturing of industrial goods through consultation between the stakeholders at NEDLAC and international level.
3. To call for amendment of the Competition Act to establish a price and monitoring system to ensure compliance by companies and prevent companies from exerting undue market influence.
4. To ensure that import-parity pricing is strictly controlled with respect to products that are significant to poor people such as food, medicine and housing material.
5. The state should play a central role in regulating the exportation of scrap metal, in order to allow local businesses access to scrap metal at a competitive price.
6. CEC to establish a focus group to discuss IPP in all sectors of the economy.
7. COSATU should be regularly highlighting the negative effect of import-parity pricing on jobs.
3.4 State involvement in the economy
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Clause 3 of the Freedom Charter says, “The national wealth of the country, the heritage of all South Africans, shall be restored to the people,” and “The mineral wealth beneath the soil shall be transferred to the ownership of the people.”
2. Instead of pursuing this demand the government is handing over key economic sectors like mining to few rich individuals. This cannot benefit the majority of the people.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. The government should be engaged through COSATU and other organs of civil society should call for the establishment of a national company owned by the people through the state in key strategic sector. The state company should also own key strategic sectors of the economy.
2. The proceeds of this company will be channelled into financing programmes to deal with socio-economic challenges of our country particularly those facing the poor.
- (Re)nationalise key industries that used to belong to the state, beginning with SASOL;
- Pass legislation to allow state takeover of industries that are either closed or abandoned by owners or financially troubled. This must be done through direct involvement of workers affected; and
- Return to the Freedom Charter demands for nationalisation of the monopoly industries like the mines and the banks.
3. To campaign within the Alliance and society at large for the nationalisation of economic assets in key economic sectors such as minerals, telecommunications, petrochemical, etc.
4. To call on government that the National Empowerment Fund, Sibiya Fund, etc. and other entities such as the IDC and PIC are oriented towards supporting popular forms of ownership and distribution of economic wealth such as cooperatives.
5. To call on all COSATU affiliates to disallow their investment companies from legitimising the current accumulation regime by participation in BEE deals.
6. To call on all COSATU investment companies to reorient themselves towards cooperatives and other progressive forms of ownership.
3.5 Industrial strategy and economic policy-making
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The adoption of an Industrial Strategy and economic policy for COSATU takes into consideration the main demands arising from COSATU ’s Central Committee on industrial strategy (as articulated in Book 6 of 2006 Congress documentation); as well as COSATU’s position on the Growth and Development Summit (GDS); and government’s Accelerated Shared Growth Initiative (ASGI-SA)
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. The main demands of COSATU on industrial policy include the following:
The developmental state. The state must absolutely prioritise sustainable employment creation, which combines economic development with an expansion in decent work. Moreover, the state must have structures that can drive development through a combination of discipline and resourcing for capital. At the same time, it must ensure broad participation in policy development, especially by organisations representing working people.
Fiscal and monetary policy. Fiscal policy must become more expansionary. Interest and foreign-exchange rates must be designed to support increased investment and growth in exports. In particular, targets for the Reserve Bank should include the current employment and growth targets. That generally requires a reduction in real interest rates to levels comparable or lower than South Africa’s main trading partners. The state must do more to make development finance institutions, especially the IDC, support its initiatives.
Skills development. While the national skills strategy sets a crucial framework for skills development on a mass scale, it has not succeeded in ensuring that lower-level workers have access to qualifications and career paths. We need a stronger analysis to understand the reasons for these shortcomings.
Unionisation. To ensure growth brings about decent work requires that workers entering newly created jobs also join unions. The labour laws never work primarily through government inspections, but rather through union monitoring and action. Government must do more explicitly to support organisation in vulnerable sectors, rather than relying only on its own power to set standards.
Sector strategies. COSATU has long argued that specific sectoral strategies are needed to restructure the economy toward more equitable, job-creating growth. This is a long-run process. It takes at least five to ten years to change the sectoral structure of the economy substantially. Effective interventions must be geared consistently and systematically toward the new growth path.
2. Sector strategies must ensure, as far as possible, that every major economic sector:
- Protects and creates sustainable and decent employment
- Meets basic needs better, by cutting prices or improving the quality of goods used by the poor
- Ensures adequate exports to obtain necessary imports, which means continued diversification in mining, and an active beneficiation strategy remains critical
- Contributes to development in the former homeland areas and in neighbouring countries
- Supports more collective ownership, especially through the public sector, a strong co-operatives movement and enhanced worker and community control.
3. A critical task is to identify industries that are both relatively labour intensive and sustainable – that is, able to grow substantially for the foreseeable future. Generally, considerable state support will be required to help these industries take off while achieving more equitable outcomes.
4. This approach differs from the current government strategy in that:
- It sees the domestic market as an important source of growth for labour-intensive production, rather than focusing narrowly on export industries.
- It does not glorify high-tech production, rather arguing that production of basic goods for the poor in South Africa and the region at least may provide an important source of employment growth.
- By extension, it requires a low exchange rate as well as measures to reduce the cost of living in order to make possible competition with Asian suppliers who typically undervalue their currencies and subsidise key goods and services.
5. Critical structural changes for this industrial policy include:
- A substantial expansion in agriculture and food processing for both the domestic and regional market and, especially through horticulture, for overseas export. To ensure decent work and greater equity in the sector, a major land reform and agrarian development based on marketing co-ops would have to form a central part of this sectoral strategy.
- To maintain export revenues and technological capacity, mining would have to continue to diversify with conscious efforts to diversify the associated industries and services, both upstream – essentially capital equipment, electricity, construction materials and chemicals – and downstream (beneficiation and manufacture of mining products).
- Strong support systems would be needed to grow light manufacturing, especially food processing; appliance assembly; crafts; plastics (based on local inputs); furniture; publishing and clothing. In each case, sources of local inputs should be identified and expanded. Growing these sectors will require an overhaul of the retail sector as well as some tariffs, in order to ensure access to domestic and regional markets. Co-ops and state agencies must play a role in providing inputs and marketing.
- Both public and private services should grow in ways that create employment. The main public services are understaffed. They also have to review all their programmes to ensure they contribute more to employment creation, both by enhancing local procurement and by improving the capacity of working-class households to engage with the economy. The private services – for instance, restaurants, childcare and hairdressing – are dominated by micro-enterprises, but provide an important source of employment especially for women.
1. The GDS was concluded at NEDLAC in June 2003, just before COSATU’s Eighth National Congress. Key gains for labour included a reaffirmed commitment to tripartite sector strategies geared to growth creation, agreements to expand skills development, support for co-operatives, and restructuring of the financial sector, and a commitment to ensure increased investment to transform the economy and meet community needs.
2. Evaluating the impact of the GDS is not easy. For one thing, it remains difficult to link specific actions by government and business to implementation of their GDS commitments. We can, however, identify some important outcomes of the GDS. They include the Financial Sector Charter; the emphasis in ASGI-SA on increasing public investment and sector strategies; the new legislation for co-ops; the changes in BEE strategies to avoid a narrow elitist approach- although these remain inadequate; and the pressure to improve the functioning of the SETAs.
3. Particular concerns for labour remain the lack of commitment on investment and the generally slow and unsystematic progress in all areas.
1. The government developed ASGI-SA toward the end of 2005. Key elements include:
- A substantial increase in public investment, primarily in electricity generation, rail transport and, at provincial level, in roads and community infrastructure. These investments have not yet been initiated, but should have some impact in the coming years. This proposal takes forward COSATU demands in some respects, but the scope and targeting of this investment is not agreed in some areas, and requires further discussion (e.g. the Gautrain).
- Improvements in education and skills development, based on establishment of a Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) with high level participation by government, business and labour representatives. Labour has been under-represented on JIPSA but has nonetheless managed to have a significant influence on its activities in the past few months. Government has now agreed to address labour’s under-representation.
- Sector strategies geared to employment creation. ASGI-SA’s sector strategies have tended to focus on limited employment-creating activities, such as outsourced back-office processing, rather than interrogating how major sectors can do more to support sustainable job creation.
- An effort further to reduce fiscal dis-savings and maintenance of the current inflation-targeting regime, with some efforts to ensure a competitive rand through increased reserves. This approach could lead to a more conservative fiscal and monetary regime, which COSATU opposes.
- Support for selected “second-economy” activities and deregulation for SMMEs. This section of ASGI-SA remains underdeveloped, and has encouraged suggestions that labour laws be weakened.
2. The ASGI-SA framework identifies an important problem – slow and inequitable growth – and points to some key reasons rooted in the inherited economic structure. While many of the proposed solutions have considerable merit, they do not adequately reflect the overall aim of inclusive, shared growth, and taken together seem inadequate to achieve the desired aims. This means we must locate ASGI-SA clearly and narrowly as a commitment to shared growth, rather than as a statement of consensus on how to get there.
3. The lack of a broader strategy that can mobilise the Alliance must be urgently addressed. We identify some areas in the course of this document which we believe need to be prioritised if a practical strategy to promote equity and redistribution is to be placed at the centre of ASGI-SA.
4. We agree that:
- The commodity price boom and prospects for a more expansionary fiscal policy, in particular, support accelerated economic expansion. In this context, ASGI-SA should seek above all to ensure prioritisation of shared growth. In other words, it must send a clear signal that growth on the historic path, which enriched only a relative few, is not acceptable. We cannot have growth for some, and pain and misery for the core constituency of the ANC and the liberation movement.
- While the document may be seen as an improvement in some respects, it largely continues the existing ad hoc, inconsistent, and sometimes contradictory approach to key strategic challenges. The absence of a coherent strategy to deal with the critical issues of inequality, unemployment and poverty bedevils the good intentions of ASGI-SA.
- The Growth Strategy pays lip service to the issues of redistribution and inequality, but lacks any systematic attempt to ensure that growth of whatever figure – 6% or more – doesn’t perpetuate the current growth path of inequality – i.e. it doesn’t address the critical question of how to ensure that the beneficiaries of growth don’t continue to be largely the same suspects. (There is no deliberate strategy of redistribution in ASGI-SA; chasing of growth or employment targets is not specifically biased towards a deliberate impact on the poor; e.g. there is no mention of decent work, combating casualisation etc. to ensure that rising employment figures are not accompanied by a growth in the working poor- in fact the proposals in relation to textiles would achieve precisely this result). Strategies to address the economically marginalized, second economy etc. tend to be add-ons, to a largely market-driven strategy- although there are some tentative shifts in the direction of a more interventionist role for the state.
- We can ensure more equitable growth through measures that ensure growth is combined:
- Employment creation, on a enough large scale drastically to reduce the level of unemployment, which requires a shift in the structure of production
- Combating casualisation of labour which is building a large army of working poor
- More equitable ownership, for instance through aggressive agrarian reform that will ensure faster and widespread land redistribution, food security and livelihood support programmes in the rural areas. We require more social protection funded through the progressive tax system. We need a deliberate strategy to change patterns of ownership through empowerment of the majority through a much more aggressive development of co-ops and such other scheme that promotes collective ownership of the economy.
- Investment in human capital – education, skills development and healthcare. We need a more deliberate strategy for employment equity to ensure promotion of black people, women and people leaving with disabilities.
- ASGI-SA identifies only some programmes to achieve these aims. Moreover, COSATU cannot agree with the details of some of its proposals.
- As agreed at the last Alliance Summit, the Alliance must still develop a more comprehensive vision that will guide long-run development to build a more dynamic and equitable economy.
5. COSATU is only able to support ASGI-SA if agreement is reached that:
- ASGI-SA needs to be fundamentally designed to ensure that our common commitment to shared, rather than inequitable, growth runs through all its programmes;
- Proposals to introduce reduced rights for workers in small businesses, weaken the scope of centralised bargaining and possibly use regulatory impact assessments to review and attack labour rights, are removed;
- The specific proposals in the document, for instance on sectors and infrastructure projects, require much more work to secure alignment around a common developmental vision;
- The Alliance will set in place a practical programme to develop a common understanding of the broader growth trajectory, identifying the role in all the major sectors and social programmes in establishing a more equitable economy;
- While we appreciate the important contribution a programme such as ASGI-SA could make, without a broader development strategy it will be measured against the Alliance commitment to a transformatory growth project, and found be wanting. Indeed, parts of it could be used to erode the commitment to a better life for all.
3.6 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Racial differences in income, wealth and opportunities remain unacceptably high.
2. The reluctance of the private sector in some quarters to transform and especially to engage with all stakeholders, including labour, in negotiating sector charters developed to deal with sector-specific issues of empowerment and development.
3. The failure of narrow versions of BEE to include skills development, employment equity, broad-based ownership, employment creation and support for co-ops as key elements in effective empowerment for the majority of South Africans.
4. The state passed the Broad-Based BEE Act in 2003. The Act provided that all government procurement and licensing must take into account, as far as possible, the score and enterprise gets on a Broad-Based BEE scorecard.
5. Since the Act was passed, the dti has gazetted and engaged at NEDLAC on draft Codes of Good Practice that give details on the scorecard. The Codes will probably only be finalised toward the end of 2006 or early 2007.
6. Under current proposals, points on the scorecard (indicated in brackets below) would be awarded for:
- The share of black people, and particularly black women, in ownership and executive management. The main target was to achieve 25%, 1% black ownership, which would give the black shareholder an effective voice on the board. (30% of the total points)
- The achievements of targets for employment equity and skills development, with most of the points going to representivity and training for professionals and managers. (30% of the total)
- Support given to black-owned enterprise through financial and technical assistance as well as targeted procurement. (30% of the total)
- Other socially responsible investment and activities. (10% of the total)
7. Micro enterprises, which are too small to register for VAT, would be entirely exempted from the scorecard.
8. The Act also provides that stakeholders in a sector, explicitly including labour and community groups, may agree on a Sector Charter that could diverge from the scorecard in order to take into account sectoral needs. The dti must gazette such a Charter under the Act,
- It would have to be accepted by all stakeholders, including labour, which gives unions something very like a veto.
- Parties to a Charter would have to justify deviations from the scorecard.
9. Currently, sector charters are under discussion in mining, finance, health, construction, property, ICT, agriculture and legal services. But they cannot begin the gazetting process until the Codes of Good Practice are finalised, and even then the gazetting process may take some months.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To concretely campaign for truly Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment in which mass empowerment of the young, women and rural people are key defining feature and in which elite enrichment of the few is condemned.
2. To campaign for a BBBEE that results in mass empowerment. To actively promote a BBBEE strategy as encompassed by the Act and the Codes of Good Practice which seeks to radically empower all previously disadvantaged communities by opening up access to economic opportunities and permanently alleviating poverty.
3. To campaign against a narrow, self-interested interpretation of BBBEE centred on ownership and the enrichment of a few. This strategy must redistribute wealth among all disadvantaged communities and serve as a tool to eradicate not only racial and class, but also gender inequalities.
4. Broad-based BEE must include payment of a living wage. All companies including the BEE companies should sign
- Charter of Worker Rights in which they commit to supporting at least the following rights of workers.
- Payment of a living wage.
- Full and comprehensive trade-union rights.
- Advanced health and safety practices.
4. In all sectors and industries the BEE charters must be outcomes of stakeholder negotiations. To call for and ensure that the empowerment charter process takes place in all sectors and that industry engages effectively with other stakeholders, specifically labour, on empowerment issues.
5. To campaign and call on government to design special legislation facilitates access to finance for SMMEs and co-operatives, especially those with job-creation potential.
6. To give our support to other initiatives such as the Financial Sector Charter and the related SACP campaign, which aim to provide previously disadvantaged individuals with access to economic opportunities.
7. The BBBEE Codes must provide no exemption particularly for multinational corporations (MNC).
8. To call for other empowerment vehicles which fall outside the codes of good practice such as land and agrarian reform, public works programmes and the re-nationalisation of state owned assets and enterprises.
9. To implement mass training programmes for workers and the unemployed with regards to addressing skills development and employment equity issues, etc.
10. COSATU, together with partners such as the Dora Tamana Institute, must develop clear guidelines on the establishment of co-operatives. Co-ops must be used as model for mass-based empowerment.
11. The Alliance must define who previously disadvantaged people are.
12. The entire BBBEE process does not adequately emphasise employment, including through support for local procurement and strong ties to sector strategies.
13. The ownership requirements should do more to incentives collective ownership, for instance by community trusts, worker ownership and pension funds. In response to COSATU’s demands at NEDLAC, some incentives are provided for collective ownership, but they remain weak and it is not clear if retirement funds would qualify.
14. The employment equity and skills development targets undermine the relevant legislation by focusing primarily on managers and professionals. Yet a central aim of the original acts, which were passed by Parliament (unlike the broad-based BEE Codes), was to ensure advancement for lower-level workers.
15. In many sectors, such as health and finance, the services and products provided may be important in empowering the poor and their communities. More weight should be given to these issues.
3.7 Trade policy
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The Doha Development Round at the WTO is currently suspended because powerful, developed countries are operating as a bloc to secure markets in the developing countries while denying developing countries the policy instruments needed to enhance development. At the same time, they continue to subsidise agriculture and as a consequence block access into their agricultural markets.
2. The tariff cuts proposed in the negotiations on non-agricultural market access (NAMA) pose a devastating threat to quality employment and to the existence of a manufacturing base in developing countries.
3. The recent positions taken by South Africa in the negotiations and in the alliance-building between the countries of the South in the WTO. COSATU takes this opportunity to commend the more proactive positions taken by our government.
1. Developing countries must unite to develop a programme to protect their markets against the WTO bullies.
2. Our engagement in trade-related matters must:
- Seek to meet the needs of our members and the millions of other working and unemployed people in this country and
- Support effective and democratically agreed-policies to support the appropriate development of the South African economy.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. On NAMA (Non-Agricultural Market Access), our government:
- Should ensure that while WTO talks are suspended, developing countries should not be coerced into entering bilateral agreements with rich and powerful countries. Further, government must not get drawn into accepting any kind of compromise multilateral `formulas` for the reduction of industrial and other tariffs proposed under this agreement, with the already-evident negative effects of such liberalisation against local industry and jobs;
- Must instead defend the imperative necessity to preserve its own internal policy-making rights and the policy flexibility required to support its own emerging and future industrial development and diversification strategies, and
- Must support COSATU’s demand that the offensive thrust of NAMA be definitively blocked altogether.
2. On GATS (the General Agreement on Trade in Services), our government must:
- Secure the essential role of national services for current and future national development and diversification strategies;
- not make any offers to open up any public service to foreign commercial or privatised “service providers” or companies, either on a bilateral or plurilateral basis;
- Assert its inalienable right to amend or withdraw any offers already made under GATS;
- Support COSATU’s demand, in Alliance with other trade union partners and social movements, those GATS to be stopped altogether.
3. On the WTO`s agreement on agriculture, our government must:
- Stand firm and not compromise on the unacceptable agricultural export and production subsidies in the highly industrialised countries, which harm agricultural producers in South Africa and other countries of the South;
- Join other developing countries demanding their right to protect their own key products and vulnerable small agricultural producers, especially in the context of the urgent necessity to redistribute land and support small and emerging farmers and rural communities in this country;
- Protect its right to develop and implement agricultural and related policies as agreed with stakeholders in this country.
4. It is critical that our government does not accept as inevitable that the Doha Round will – or must – resume. Instead, it should use the current suspension of talks to engage in wide-ranging investigation and consultation with organised labour and other social forces in this country to prepare an alternative and appropriate national development and international strategy appropriate for the needs of this country.
5. On other international, bilateral or regional trade negotiations, the government must:
- Defend its right to maintain external tariff, quotas or other trade instruments that are judged necessary for the defence of jobs and the promotion of industrial development and diversification in this country;
- Not accept the infiltration into any such agreements of any WTO or WTO terms such as financial liberalisation, the opening up of government procurement and other proposals – that have been resisted and already rejected in the WTO and that are hostile to the interests of the people and future development of this country.
6. We urge the government to support the continued unity and resistance of the various alliances of developing countries in the face of the divisive pressure tactics by the WTO and its supporters.
7. COSATU must immediately embark on an education campaign on the WTO, NAMA and GATS for the workers.
8. Shop stewards must engage their employers to support the unions and government positions on the WTO. In this regard a national petition must be prepared to gunner support for our positions.
9. COSATU must spearhead a global campaign on international trade agreements.
10. Negotiation processes should be driven at a political level by the Minister.
11. The quota agreement between South Africa and China should be extended to other sensitive and labour intensive sectors prone to dumping, for example, the tyre and electronics industry.
3.8 SACCAWU National Provident Fund’s ownership and overall transformation of the Financial Services Board (FSB)
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. It is now full four years since the SACCAWU National Provident Fund was mysteriously and unnecessary put under curatorship amid alarming and wild allegations which four years after curatorship have still to be proven.
2. SACCAWU has called for a proper investigation of the fund in order to deal with the FSB’s allegations, but this has not been forthcoming.
1. The seizure of the SNPF under curatorship indefinitely is but one component of the overall capitalist strategy, in collaboration with the FSB, to resist if not eliminate union controlled retirement funds.
2. Protracted curatorship defeats the very purpose and objective of addressing problems in the funds. The SNPF curatorship at best is the curatorship of a special type that only serves to enrich a few individuals at the cost of the fund.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To demand adequate labour representation in the FSB Board and to ensure that other members are individuals serving in the FSB are representative of the broader South African society.
2. To demand the urgent removal of the SACCAWU National Provident Fund from curatorship and its return to its rightful owners’ control, administration, governance and management.
3. A credible agency undertake intensive and urgent investigation into:
- The role of FSB and Old Mutual in putting the fund under curatorship as well as processes leading to same and during the curatorship.
- The claims submitted and processed, such as funeral cover, death and withdrawal benefits during curatorship.
- Investments made, investments recalled and reasons therefore.
- Complaints by members and steps taken to attend to same.
- Detailed reasons for the destruction of SACCAWU National Provident Fund and liquidation of SACCAWU Investment Holding, and an analysis of the value of the investee companies acquired by SIH before curatorship.
- The processes and criteria applied in nominating the incumbent curator.
- What happened to the irregularities allegedly committed by the Trustees and/or Principal Officer? Why were there never any arrests or convictions in the light of public vilifications and wild allegations?
- The role and possible conflicts of interest of the curator, his legal firm and family, and the overall costs to the fund during the curatorship period.
4. The CEC should develop a strategy to deal with attacks on union-initiated retirement funds
3.9 Labour law and labour market policy
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Recent efforts to weaken labour rights in legislation.
2. Attempts by certain companies to avoid the obligations of law by casualising the employment relationship.
3. The use of representivity tests in the law to undermine bargaining councils.
4. Current attempts to change the Labour Court through transferring its work to the provincial divisions of the High Courts, and remove the right through Nedlac for labour to have a say in appointment of judges.
1. Centralised bargaining is crucial to ensure workers at small businesses have proper rights negotiated through trade unions.
2. Bargaining Councils need to be strengthened.
3. The legitimacy of the labour courts requires effective stakeholder involvement in the appointment of judicial officers.
1. Calls for labour market flexibility that amount to stripping workers of their rights and are in fact a call for a return to the dark past of our country for ordinary workers
2. The reports and ill-informed analyses of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that constitute an attack on the rights of the poor, the marginalised and workers.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To defend the rights of workers in the labour laws with all our energy and power and to ensure that other laws such as the Competition Act, be amended to protect rights of employment
2. To campaign to strengthen bargaining councils through a range of measures, including:
- Ensuring Bargaining Councils are set up in more sectors to ensure that larger numbers of workers are covered;
- Unions improving their current levels of representivity in bargaining councils and build strong, large unions in each bargaining council;
- Changes to section 32 of the LRA to ensure a lower threshold of representivity applicable to a bargaining council to be used by the Minister for purposes of extending collective agreements concluded in bargaining councils. This should not change existing criteria for admission to bargaining councils;
- Bargaining Councils to receive a full subsidy from the Department of Labour for all dispute resolution services that they provide.
3. To fight to retain labour rights for workers in small businesses through:
- A co-ordinated campaign to unionise small businesses, drawing on successful experiences such as in motor, clothing and other sectors;
- Strengthening the rights of workers to utilise freedom of association and collective bargaining rights.
4. To address casualisation and labour broking through changes to the law, as well as statutory Codes, to ensure full protection of workers and the growth of secure, decent work.
5. To combat the abuse of labour brokers and contracts including where permanent work is structured through fixed-term contracts, and in this context, to ensure.
- That companies are not able to use fixed-term contracts to avoid granting rights to workers;
- That the exact terms of liability on the contractor and main employer is fixed and clearly defined such that workers are able to access the rights they are due in labour laws and collective agreements;
- Transfer of contracts of employment where a commercial contract is transferred from one business to another, but the underlying work continues;
- Procedures and protections available in the LRA are available to contract workers.
6. To campaign that all public and private tenders clearly require that all tenders fully comply with all their labour standards requirements, including labour legislation and collective bargaining agreements, and that the tender price be set at a rate that allows companies to meet their labour standard obligations.
7. To campaign for:
- The retention of a specialist Labour Court with national jurisdiction but with facilities in all provinces in order to ensure access;
- Continuation of NEDLAC’s role in the appointment of judges in labour matters;
- A system that allows shop stewards and union officials to continue to represent workers in the court.
8. To serve a section 77 notice on reforms to the judiciary that undermines the gains made in the LRA on issues of appointment, specialisation and representation.
9. To review the emerging case-law on labour rights, to ensure that the rights of workers are not undermined, and in this context to consider changes to the LRA required to address the problems raised by the Fry’s Metal case
10. To strengthen the fight against retrenchments and unfair dismissals, including through:
- Amending the LRA to grant workers in enterprises employing fewer that 50 workers the right to strike against retrenchment;
- Ensuring that the desire to expand profits is not regarded as a operational requirement for purpose of retrenchment;
- Campaigning for severance pay to be increased to 4 weeks per year of service;
- Addressing the issue of representation at the CCMA so that advocates and attorneys who practice for their own account are not permitted to represent parties in individual dismissal cases.
11. To protect the right of workers to key organisational rights, including:
- Ensuring that the right to demonstrate and picket is defended, and that the police is trained and equipped to deal with crowd control in a peaceful manner;
- Reviewing the operation of limitations on rights to association and to strike, including in essential services, solidarity strikes, the Police Act and the National Keypoints Act.
12. To call for the following amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act:
- Provision for a special sectoral determination aimed at addressing the plight of workers in atypical jobs since they are the most vulnerable;
- Amending Section 54 to compel the Employment Conditions Commission (ECC) to set itself the objective of combating high levels of atypical employment when advising the Minister on Sectoral Determinations;
- Introducing a provision which increases the number of the ECC members by providing for a community constituency representative in the commission;
- The working week should be reduced to 40 hours without any loss of income or benefits;
- Increase family responsibility leave;
- Increase the sick leave provided to workers with AIDS or a terminal illness.
13. To review existing legislation and Codes to meet key concerns, including:
- The Employment Equity Act to address the wage gap;
- Skills Development Act to ensure greater access by ordinary workers, especially black people and women;
- Codes of Good Practice to align them with legislation and that they benefit ordinary workers and not just senior managers and professionals.
14. To improve the fight against racism, sexism and vulnerable employment.
15. To strengthen monitoring and enforcement of labour laws, including increasing the number of inspectors.
3.10 Police brutality and state oppression during protest action
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. There is growing dissatisfaction among communities on provision of basic services by government, such as infrastructure development, electrification and sanitation etc.
2. The sometimes inhumane, barbaric and violent response by the police in managing these demonstrations, which reverts to the old brutal apartheid style of tear gas, bullets and skiet, skop en donner.
3. The current narrow and defeatist approach to community policing, which renders it irrelevant and ineffective.
4. The increasing incidents of malicious prosecution of striking workers which seem to be a tactic by the state to intimidate workers and unions and seek to tie them and their resources up in the courts.
5. The refusal of municipalities to allow striking workers to gather and/or march.
6. The conflicts of interest of some ANC councillors in companies have their silence in condemning police conduct.
7. To acknowledge the progressive role played by members of POPCRU in protecting the workers’ right to strike.
1. Peaceful and lawful demonstrations are acceptable, indeed necessary, for a democratic society.
2. Communities are responsible for ensuring that their demonstrations are not abused by other elements. Citizens have a civic duty to abide by the law and collaborate with the police.
3. The police have the right to prevent lawlessness, violent activities and damage to property takes place during demonstrations and to ensure compliance with the rule of law; but this does not mean banning demonstrations or using unnecessary force to break them up.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To foster, promote and consolidate community policing during peaceful demonstrations.
2. To ensure that the right of workers to demonstrate and picket is defended, and that the police are trained and equipped to deal with crowd control in a peaceful manner
3. To continuously embark on an integrated programme of training and education within all the relevant structures on the role of the police within a democratic state.
4. To develop a collaborative approach with law enforcement agencies to apprehend and expose acts of lawlessness during such demonstrations.
5. To condemn with the strongest possible terms any form of police brutality during peaceful demonstrations, and to call upon the police top management to put effective measures and systems in place to ensure an immediate stop to unnecessarily violent police actions in these situations.
6. To influence and encourage the state to formulate all-inclusive approach on the strategic direction of the security establishment.
7. To encourage development of a well-resourced and inclusive proactive, effective, and inclusive policing approach.
8. To campaign for the streamlining of all policing strategies and activities by all security agencies to ensure an efficient and effective collaborative approach to crime and criminality.
9. To encourage and support a continuous campaign by the state for retrieving all unlicensed firearms and discourage possession of small calibre firearms. The state must manage and strictly control the issuing and control of firearms to private security agencies as well as monitoring the database and usage of such arms.
10. To approach the Human Rights Commission for an enquiry into police brutality and malicious prosecution of workers on strike.
11. To campaign for the democratisation of the process of applying for gatherings and marches, including removing the powers of municipalities to unilaterally withdraw the right of workers to gather or march in the course of a strike.
12. To condemn the behaviour of the police by arresting leaders during marches by striking workers as this only creates chaos at such a critical time and to call for the dropping of all charges by the state against our leaders.
13. To engage government on new methods of crowd control
14. To call on the police management and the police in general to ensure adherence to the Code of Good Practice on Police Conduct during pickets and strikes.
15. To ensure that state institutions are not used to break the strike and picket lines.
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. Our participation in NEDLAC and other forums like the Millennium Labour Council and the President’s Working Group have, in the main, not been pursued in accordance with our strategic aims as outlined in previous resolutions. Moreover, affiliates are not always fully consulted or involved when matters relevant to their sector are discussed in the various forums where COSATU participates.
2. The absence of a communications strategy to communicate what is taking place in NEDLAC and Parliament results in the perception that members are turned on and off to support our demands. One day the tap might just run dry as members get fed up with not being properly informed.
3. The Community Constituency at NEDLAC is restricted to the Development Chamber, although it is obviously affected by what happens in the Trade and Industry, Public Finance and Monetary and Labour Chambers.
4. The budget allocated to NEDLAC is hopelessly inadequate and does not demonstrate any serious attitude, by Government, towards NEDLAC.
5. Co-ordination between the Parliamentary Office and Policy Unit.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. A more structured approach to the Federation’s work in the various socio-economic forums, aimed at increasing the involvement of workers in these processes, will be implemented as a matter of urgency. This approach shall include ongoing education, regular consultations within the Federation and with the ANC ETC and mandate taking and the use of mass action where appropriate.
2. The first CEC after Congress must develop a set of measures aimed at strengthening our participation in NEDLAC. This programme may include the following, amongst others:
- Regular workers’ summits involving worker delegates from the three Federations;
- Regular strategic sessions of the leadership of the three Federations;
- Providing adequate support and back-up for our delegates;
- Define a clear role for the National Office Bearers of the Federation in exercising political oversight over our participation in NEDLAC;
- Ensure that our participation is mass driven;
- Regular consultation with the ANC NEC Economic Transformation Commission.
3. A thoroughgoing review of our work in these forums will be undertaken by the CEC within four months of the Congress. This review will include testing our participation and the outcomes against the objectives set for our participation in these forums by earlier resolutions. The aims include:
- Use NEDLAC to change power relations in favour of the working class;
- View NEDLAC as a terrain of struggle to be contested to advance the interest of the working class;
- Critically evaluate the implications for the working class of all agreements reached at NEDLAC;
- Bring NEDLAC and its processes closer to the people by developing a mechanism to involve members in the process of policy formulation and ensure that all documents and agreement are written in an accessible language;
- Consistently evaluate our strategies and ensure our effective participation in NEDLAC.
4. Before commenting on any matter and/or representing the Federation in any forum where matters relevant to a particular affiliate are being discussed, the affiliate must be consulted.
5. Within two weeks from the Congress, the communications unit must devise a communication strategy that will make it easier to communicate information from parliament and NEDLAC.
6. All labour convenors in the different chambers of NEDLAC present monthly reports detailing:
- Issues under discussion;
- Issues approaching deadlock;
- Time frames around which issues will be dealt with.
7. COSATU’s Communications Unit is tasked to produce a monthly NEDLAC newsletter along the lines of COSATU Weekly to be e-mailed and faxed to all affiliates.
8. The Parliamentary Office must also produce its own e-mail newsletter which will from time to time brief affiliates about the developments in Parliament.
9. COSATU must look into a radio/TV and print media slot on working-class issues covered in NEDLAC.
10. COSATU support in principle the need for the community constituency to participate in all NEDLAC chambers. The CEC will develop concrete proposal to achieve this objective including considering calling for the amendment of the NEDLAC Constitution.
11. To take steps aimed at ensuring that there is a substantial increase in the NEDLAC Budget.
12. The affiliates should take responsibility and account on deploying representatives at NEDLAC.
13. NEDLAC to take accountability to capacitate the representative of all sectors.
14. The Policy Unit of the Federation to raise funding from external sources in order to manage and develop more effective policy engagements.
15. To conduct a comprehensive evaluation on how the working class agenda is best served in NEDLAC as a forum of social dialogue where business and government act in their own interest.
3.12 2010 Soccer World Cup
This Ninth National Congress notes:
1. The reality that football in South Africa is largely a working-class game but that financial constraints may deprive workers from access to matches.
2. The need to make the 2010 World Cup a Proudly South African event characterised not only by African hospitality, music and culture, but also by a socio-economic and developmental focus and an opportunity to realise the social goals of our Bill of Rights, including labour rights.
3. That the SA national teams were readmitted to the international sporting codes in 1992 before our democratic dispensation and a new flag.
4. The names of our national teams do not have a qualitative national meaning.
5. The stringent FIFA rules that prohibit vendor of selling food and souvenirs.
Therefore this Ninth National Congress resolves:
1. To campaign for the 2010 World Cup to have a developmental focus and act as a catalyst for achieving the broader goals of equity and development that lie at the heart of a fair society.
2. To table a 2010 Framework Agreement at NEDLAC, with provisions dealing with:
- Local procurement in line with Proudly South Africa: all tenders and products licensed for the 2010 World Cup that are technically capable of being produced in South Africa should be made locally by companies that are PSA members;
- Employment: all tenders and contracts should maximise employment creation and technical criteria should be developed to achieve this goal;
- Infrastructure: all stadiums, roads, housing and other infrastructure procured for the World Cup should be aimed at building sustainable infrastructure, or modernising existing ones, in poor areas. Accommodation built for the World Cup should be accessible to working-class tenants after the event;
- Labour standards: all procurement and contracts should explicitly and verifiably support fair labour standards, including but not limited to ensuring respect for labour laws, full freedom to join a union and bargain collectively, secure employment, no use of child labour. Even after the World Cup there should job guarantees for workers.Ensure proper training and accreditation of cleaning, security and transport workers to ensure professional standards. Ensure compliance and enforcement by the Department of Labour and relevant unions is as far as the Sectoral Determination is concerned as a minimum standard;
- BEE guidelines: the World Cup should promote broad-based BEE and not empower only a small group;
- Promotion of co-operatives: a percentage of the contracts should be set aside for cooperatives;
- Access to matches: the Local Organising Committee should ensure that workers, the poor and rural people have access to matches on a discounted basis, and companies should release workers in agreed numbers to attend matches. Employers must establish funds to assist workers to attend matches;
- Marshals must be employed.
3. To call on football players to fully commit to and promote an anti-racism culture and promotion of fair play. Fully commit to and promote anti-racism and a culture of fair play.
4. All the infrastructure developments in preparation of the event will be sustainable beyond 2010 and benefit the working class communities’ in particular public transport.
5. To use our representative position in the LOC and other structures related to the event to advance the interests of the South African Football Players’ Union (SAFPU). The CEC should monitor progress.
6. Development of local football to raise standard of football, include quota of foreign players to encourage local players and soccer indaba.
7. To reiterate our deep concern at the free-fall of the standards of South African soccer. The season that has just ended saw the highest goals scorer with only a ridiculous 14 goals. Moreover, the person who scored the goals is not South African, so he cannot be used in our national squad. Last season`s highest scorer was also not a South African; he was celebrated and feared by our local defenders, yet he is not good enough to make it into the English Premier League. We were booted out of COSAFA recently. Even in our biggest club competition involving our giant soccer squads, we could not score a single goal in normal and extra time.
8. COSATU reiterates the call that SAFA share with the nation in general, and stakeholders in particular, the development strategy it announced this year so that it can be shaped by popular participation. Soccer does not belong to SAFA officials who have only managed to administer this working-class sport to the point where all of us can see the disaster that is waiting to happen in the 2010 World Cup competition. Unless drastic measures are taken we will be mere spectators during the World Cup.
9. To support calls for a soccer indaba to address the free falling soccer standards. The indaba should be attended by all stakeholders, in particular soccer players, coaches and administrators to assist develop a strategy to address weaknesses.
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 7th National Congress ” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]
21 September, 2000
We, the 2 174 Delegates at the 7th National Congress of COSATU, women and men representing nineteen affiliated unions, with a total membership of 1 806 158 workers, adopt the following Declaration and commit ourselves to the Congress Programme of Action.
We are here more united, stronger, and more confident that the democratic trade union movement will play a central role in addressing the many challenges facing our country.
Our unity and strength is reflected in:
The political cohesion and shared vision of delegates to this Congress, which emerges in the tradition of open and vigorous debate on issues affecting workers;
The strong culture of worker control, which is translated into a deep tradition of internal democracy that has been demonstrated throughout this Congress;
The continued growth of COSATU, despite the loss of members as a result of retrenchments, so that we remain one of the fastest-growing labour federations in the world; and
The determination to mobilise workers and society more broadly behind a programme of social transformation, together with our Alliance and all democratic and patriotic forces.
We recognise the growing contestation over the direction of the NDR, based in deepening class contradictions. For this reason, we pledge to position the organised working class to protect and advance the National Democratic Revolution. We will ensure fulfilment of the NDR through the establishment of strong participatory democracy and the transformation of the economy. We make no bones about the fact that we want the NDR to work in the interests of the working class, the overwhelming majority of people in this country.
To that end, we have resolved to improve the working of the Alliance by strengthening its structures, developing a clear political programme, and defining its role in giving strategic guidance to government. Central to this is the urgent discussion and adoption of a detailed Alliance programme to implement the Freedom Charter, the RDP, and the 1999 Elections Manifesto. We have pledged to ensure that all COSATU members and shop stewards play an active role in the ANC and the SACP.
In that context, we recognise the central importance of maintaining a strong, active, developmental state. We will resist any attempt to downsize or outsource the functions of the public sector in the name of cutting spending or minimising the role of the state. For this reason, we will support the campaign for a moratorium in iGoli 2002, and the reinstatement of workers unfairly dismissed for campaigning against it.
We realise that the ANC is the only political party that can represent the interests of the majority of South Africans. For this reason, we will intensify our efforts to ensure an overwhelming victory in the upcoming municipal elections, based on a manifesto that will ensure progressive transformation of local government and protection for the rights of municipal workers.
We also turned our attention to the need to continually strengthen our organisation. We remain committed to the vision of one federation for all workers in our country, and to the campaign to organise the unorganised – including workers in the informal sector and other hard-to-reach industries, as well as supporting progressive organisations for the unemployed. We recognise that the basis for a successful recruitment drive is to maintain and improve the service we give our members. We have agreed to embark on a mass educational and information programme to develop cadres with the political, intellectual, organisational and technical skills to advance the struggles of the working class.
We have adopted a Gender Policy that sets targets for the election of women into leadership positions, from shop steward to national office bearer; and proposes measures to support women`s leadership and ensure that women`s issues are consistently included in negotiations.
Internationally, COSATU will continue to strive to ensure a united progressive movement and to defend workers` rights around the world. To that end, we will call together forums of both African and international progressive forces to develop a common platform, as well as working in international bodies and South-South initiatives such as SIGTUR. We here pledge our solidarity with all workers, especially on our continent, who confront dictatorships and limits on their human and labour rights. We will campaign for them as they campaigned for us in the dark years of apartheid.
We here pledge to support people with AIDS and to help educate our people to protect themselves. We call on pharmaceutical companies to provide affordable medication for all our people, and on employers to ensure that all workers have access to treatment and condoms. Government must develop truly inclusive structures and programmes to mobilise our people against the pandemic, and provide the resources needed for effective treatment for HIV and related diseases, such as TB and STDs, as well as free condoms for all our people. The press must stop sensationalising the issues and begin to develop constructive information campaigns.
Our communities still suffer criminal violence, with the Western Cape in particular under attack from taxi violence, the rape and killing of children and women, and bombings. We call on all our people to unite against the elements behind these attacks, and on the government to take decisive action to protect our people.
We also recognise the many environmental threats confronting our communities and workers. We need a strategy that will focus on the real environmental problems, such as pit toilets and the reliance on coal and charcoal for energy, and manage the implications for employment. In this context, we call on government to consult more carefully on the proposed ban on plastic bags; and to make South Africa a nuclear-free zone, ending its funding of the Pebble-Based Modular Reactor and ensuring that the nuclear waste from Koeberg is not dumped in other parts of Africa.
We have again demanded a strategy for economic development that will protect quality jobs and ensure that more are created in the short and medium term, and expand social support for the unemployed. We reiterate our rejection of the GEAR strategy, which has failed utterly in reaching its target for growth, redistribution and employment creation.
The excessively rapid opening up of the economy since 1994, in the absence of a coherent industrial strategy, has dampened economic growth. It has cost hundreds of thousands of jobs in key industries such as clothing, equipment production and dairy. In this context, the failure to transform the financial sector has contributed to sluggish and inappropriate investment and helped maintain vast inequalities in wealth.
Cuts in the budget and high interest have discouraged public and private investment. It has led to the breaking up and partial privatisation of key state enterprises, notably Transnet, Eskom and Telkom, undermining the development of economic and, in poor communities, of household infrastructure and public transport, and leading to massive job losses. It has fuelled the downsizing of public services, most recently in proposals for tertiary education that will effectively entrench the racial, gender and class divisions inherited from the past.
To replace the GEAR strategy, we must develop an economic programme based on the Freedom Charter, the RDP and the Social Equity document. As a start to this process, we have adopted a Framework for Job Creation, which we will use to engage the Nedlac constituencies. We will support the process further by mobilising our members and communities around the Jobs and Poverty Campaign and through constructive participation in the process of sector summits.
Finally, we here pledge to defend the programme of labour market transformation, which is now under threat. To this end the entire membership of COSATU and all progressive forces will be mobilised to reject the draft amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and LRA, which threaten to reverse many of organised workers` hard-won gains, to undermine the position of the most vulnerable workers, and to plunge our workplaces into unprecedented conflict.
We pledge to campaign to the last ounce of our energies against these proposed amendments; to campaign for the introduction of amendments to consolidate worker gains; and to demand the implementation of agreements reached in the Alliance and with government on amendment of the LRA and BCEA. We will mobilise massively to carry out our programme of mass action to achieve these objectives.
COSATU 6th Central Committee Meeting held from 29th May – 1st June 2017, Saint George’s Conference Centre, Pretoria
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We the delegates representing more than 1, 7 million workers organized under COSATU and millions of unorganized and unemployed workers across the length and breadth of our country and the world; we rise from this 6th Central Committee of our glorious federation convened under the theme “the Unity and cohesion of COSATU to advance the National Democratic Revolution for Socialism” with confidence that our victory for socialism is certain.
We remain inspired by the frank and open debates which put the interests of our members and the entire working class above everything. We are certain that the process of building a strong, militant and fighting federation is unstoppable. Our affiliates are camping in the workplaces all over the country leading workplace struggles that are waged in the undying spirit of “no surrender”, with the leadership occupying the front ranks in this class combat.
The comradely spirit which has accompanied these profound and principled debates communicated a message that indeed this federation of Elijah Barayi, Allinah Rantsolase, John Gomomo, Chris Dlamini and Violet Seboni is built on the strong foundation of unity of workers. This unity is based on our shared understanding that our primary class enemy is monopoly capital and white monopoly capital in particular.
We are certain that the tradition of subjecting every opinion to a thorough process of democratic cross examination has not been and will never be compromised. The discipline of collective leadership and democratic centralism remains intact. Once a decision is taken all members regardless of the position held during the meeting have the responsibility to implement and defend such a decision, and that lower structures respect and abide by the decisions taken by upper structures. We are marching forward as a united and disciplined organized detachment of the working class in advancing the National Democratic Revolution and the struggle for socialism.
We remain a home for all workers, always confident passionate about resolving the challenges facing the workers.
COSATU remains a fighting federation not by decree but through the daily struggles we lead on the ground. Workers have seen firsthand the victories achieved in COSATU led struggles, when we secured the following victories amongst others:
- A new Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Act was signed into law,
- when we successfully forced government and business into adopting a legislated National Minimum Wage,
- When we stood up and stopped compulsory preservation of workers retirement fund benefits declaring that there shall be nothing about us, without us!
- It is COSATU struggles that have forced the democratic government to be more decisive in reversing the legacy of the land dispossessions which has always been at the centre of our liberation struggle.
- It is through the relentless struggles of COSATU that today government has tabled a discussion document towards the Comprehensive Social Security System Bill.
- As COSATU, we effectively engage both in the streets and in boardrooms with equal finesse and vigour.
- We have forced the department of minerals to compensate the families of the trapped miners and those who were injured at the Lily Mine. We are now calling on the department of Mineral Resources to ensure that the bodies of workers, who are still trapped, are recovered so that families can have proper closure on the loss of their loved ones.
- We continue to work with the 3000 dismissed workers at Umbhaba and we are engaging with our partners to ensure that the workers get adequate legal representation.
- We have successfully engaged in policy legislation that covered more than 20 sectors.
In this regard, this 6th Central Committee commits to heighten our back to basics campaign which will include ensuring a vigorous organisation building for the federation. This will include the launching of COSATU locals based on clear programmes and tasks, we will focus our energies and resources to build capacity for local leadership, organizing the unorganized through heightening our recruitment campaign. We shall focus more on vulnerable sectors, recruiting and organizing young workers and supporting recruitment programmes for industrial unions; ensuring service to our members and also consolidating our listening campaign in workplaces. The 6th Central Committee reaffirms the need to strength COSATU affiliates including supporting those unions that are under attack or experiencing internal challenges.
In this regard the Central Committee instructs the NOBs to decisively intervene in unions where there are challenges and not allow unions to use their autonomy to frustrate COSATU’s intervention processes. A trade union’s autonomy must not be used to place unions above the federation!
Our Central Committee took place under a dark cloud of increased cases of violence directed at women and children. We condemn these inhumane and barbaric acts directed at women and children. We call on government to give more resources to the court system so that prosecutions can be speeded up and carried out more efficiently and to identify one day which will be declared as a focus national day for women and children.
This year we celebrate the centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, which transformed a backward, semi-feudal and poverty-stricken country into a highly advanced modern society. This is indeed a momentous moment for us as a red trade union movement and for the global working class and political formations. Appreciating our indebtedness to the experiences and theory of revolution developed in the theatre of the Russian Revolution, working with our vanguard party, the SACP, we shall develop a programme to embark on a range of activities to mark this centenary based on a political counter narrative that will challenge the current hegemonic right-wing narrative.
Since the demise of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall, the world has seen a continuous deepening crisis of capitalism which is forever trying to reform itself with dismal results. As part of the deepening crisis and attempts by capitalism to reform itself, the world has recently seen the rise of the right wing all over the world mainly concentrated in Europe. Their agenda is characterised by racism, white supremacy, xenophobia, including anti-Semitism. All of this is predicated on economic nationalism and directly challenging the laws and institutions that promote human dignity, tolerance, and equality.
The wave of radical transformation seen in Latin American countries has recently experienced strategic reversals with some left governments such as in Brazil being impeached out of power. These changes which include changes of government in India have dashed any hope that the emergence of BRICS as a counter-balancing ideological force against the USA-led imperialism.
The living conditions for the people of Swaziland under Tinkundla rule have worsened and the political oppression has deepened, the people of Palestine continue to be subjected to terrible conditions by the Israel -apartheid brutality, and despite the USA’s public relations posturing regarding diplomatic relations with CUBA, the reality remains that the economy of CUBA continues to be strangled by economic sanctions imposed by the USA government ;and the advances achieved in the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela are under threat from the USA led political and economic offensive In this context, the Central Committee commits to ensure that resources are made available to heighten practical and visible solidarity campaigns with the fighting people of Swaziland, Palestine , CUBA and Venezuela.
The CC congratulates the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) and its African affiliates for hosting a successful 17th Trade Union Congress in Durban, and also to Comrade Mzwandile Makwayiba, for his election as the 11th President of the WFTU since its establishment in 1945.
This 6th Central Committee has taken place against the background of a persistent global crisis of capitalism, which is characterized by extreme levels of poverty by the working class and extreme levels of opulence by the bourgeoisie.
We live in a world in which the rich 10% owns 90% of global wealth, 71% of the population lives on less than R100 a day and 780 million people have no access to clean drinking water and unemployment shall surpass 200 million by the end of this year, growing by 3.4 million in 2017.
In South Africa more than 9million people including those who are tired of looking for a job are unemployed and over 5O% of young people remain unemployed. This is compounded by the massive job losses in the mining, agriculture and in the manufacturing sector; in particular (the steel and the auto sector).The recent disinvestment by General Motors (GMSA) from our country will add to the unemployment crisis. We are looking forward at the long awaited government’s Master Plan which is aimed at growing domestic vehicle production.
This Central Committee is deeply concerned about the state of the economy, and feels that the sovereign ratings down-grade of our economy to junk status; and its severe impact on socio-economic conditions of workers and society at large reflects a painful reality of wrong policy choices and lack of decisive leadership in favour of the working class adopted by government in the past 22 years since the 1994 democratic breakthrough.
The increasing use of ICT and automation instead of workers has become a global phenomenon which is driven by greed and a quest for higher profits. The technological developments are being introduced into the market at a faster rate displacing current jobs, particularly in the manufacturing sector. Employers are abusing section 189 by retrenching workers because of this introduction of technology in the workplace. We will fight to ensure that these changes do not lead to job losses and that women in particular do not become victims of exploitation in the process.
All this means that there is an urgent need to decisively restructure and radically transform the structure of the South African economy and diversify away from Minerals-Energy Finance Industrial Complex, and its neo-colonial development trajectory. South Africa will continue to suffer from the triple-crisis of rising unemployment, poverty and social inequality if this is not changed.
In this regard, we will ensure that we lead struggles on the ground to reconfigure the alliance in a manner that makes it to be the centre of driving a second more radical phase of our transition characterized by radical socio economic transformation.
We will fight against wrong notions of radical economic transformation which are inter-laced with neo-liberalism, which seeks to keep existing property relations intact and merely wants to perfect the functioning of the existing system of capitalist accumulation.
We will instead fight for a radical socio economic transformation which seeks to tackle property relations as the starting point, and thus wants to lay the basis for the development of society along egalitarian lines.
The 6th Central Committee declares that we will go out to our unions and our workplaces to intensify the struggle based on the following tasks:
1. We will intensify our Living Wage Campaign through the following:
- intensifying our struggle to combat unfairness in the workplace
- heightening our campaign to ensure speedy implementation of the agreed to National Minimum Wage
- Driving a COSATU led Campaign to intensify our support for the fight to achieve free education for the poor, which will include fighting for the transformation of the curriculum both in higher education and basic education. This should be used to meet the demands of the country and the 4th industrial revolution. This campaign will also include a fight against privatization of education.
- Launching a campaign towards a final push for the total banning of Labour brokers and eradication of casualisation.
- Intensifying our campaign towards the Implementation of NHI
- Intensifying our fight for quality jobs and this regard will conduct research on the possible impact of the 4th industrial revolution on jobs. It must not undermine jobs and work .The 4th industrial revolution must be at the service of humanity as whole and not profits.
- Fight to ensure that the package of retrenched workers is improved from one week of service to four weeks.
- We shall launch a campaign directed at all institutions which are responsible for the investment of workers retirement and pension funds, such as the PIC to ensure that their investment directly benefits the workers and the working class in general.
2. We will submit a section 77 notice at NEDLAC and should negotiations fail to provide a solution we will launch a series of general strikes on the following:
- Against state capture which has compromised our revolution.
- Against corruption both in the private and public sectors and this will include intensifying our fight against price fixing and carte behaviour. The strategic focus will be on ensuring that culprits are arrested, effectively prosecuted based on credible evidence and are convicted and get long sentences to communicate a clear message of zero tolerance against corruption.
- To demand that for our democracy all key state institutions be led by people with integrity who must first go through thorough screening before they could be employed. This includes ensuring that our State Owned Enterprises and other government agencies add strategic capacity and value in the construction of a developmental state and that they are not used as milking cows by the parasitic and corrupt bourgeoisie.
- To demand the nationalization of the Reserve Bank and that its work should be anchored on an unambiguous developmental mandate and not a narrow focus towards “the achievement and maintenance of price stability”
- To demand that the nuclear project be put on hold,
- To call for the halting of closure of coal mines and power stations and to fight against Independent Power Producers.
- To call for the review of BBEE intervention based on past experience, to assess whether BBBEE has benefited the majority of Blacks in general and Africans in particular. Our own experience shows that it has only benefited a few black elite. Hence we are calling for an approach that will benefit a majority of black and African working people.
3. We will launch a campaign on the transformation of the National Treasury which should include its overall ideological orientation.
4. We will work with the SACP to prepare for the Jobs Summit.
5. To intensify our joint work and campaigns with progressive social movements guided by the criteria adopted at our 8th Congress.
6. Call for the immediate implementation of Financial Intelligence Centre Act
7. To fight against the agencification of the state
8. We will work with the SACP to advance the struggle for Socialism:
9. We condemn the dirty campaigns against those who speak out against corruption, who stand against abuse of our constitution, those who speak against state capture and we condemn political intolerance.
10. The 6th Central Committee also reaffirmed the decision to have comrade Jacob Zuma step down as the president of the country, and that he can no longer address any of the COSATU meetings.
The Central Committee has reaffirmed Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa as the preferred candidate to stand for the position of president in the forthcoming ANC 54th National Conference. As soon as the ANC NEC has opened the discussions towards the 54th National Conference , we will work on the ground and with the ANC structures, who share our view to ensure that Comrade Cyril is finally elected as the next ANC presiden . We will do this unapologetically based on the fact that the ANC is ours too!
All affiliates and members will work with the NOBs to ensure that all these tasks are practically executed on the ground.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794
[su_spoiler title=”COSATU 5th Central Committee, 27-30 June 2011, Gallagher Estate in Midrand” open=”no” icon=”folder-1″]We, the representatives of the now over two million COSATU members, meeting at this
historic 5th Central Committee from 27-30 June 2011, have engaged in four days of intense,
constructive and fruitful discussion of the key issues facing the workers, the people of South
Africa and the world.
We were inspired and guided by the clarion call which is the theme of the Central
Committee: “Building COSATU engines to heighten class consciousness for an alternative
We broadly endorsed the comprehensive Secretariat Report and the two discussion papers
prepared to stimulate debates: “The current international situation: implications for the left
project” and the “May 2011 Local government elections assessment”.
We are emerging from this Central Committee much stronger, more united and determined
to spare no ounce of our energies in tackling the challenges we face. We recommit to
rigorously implement all the resolutions of the 10th COSATU National Congress held in 2009
as well as all the decisions of this 5th Central Committee.
We spent four days in this 5th Central Committee conducting thoroughgoing discussion and
debates amongst ourselves to advance the mandate given by the 10th session of the workers
parliament. We emerge not only with better levels of cohesion but also with higher levels of
clarity on what needs to be done.
Underlying all our programmes will be our endeavour to ensure the political transformation
of our society and ensure that our Alliance programmes and government programmes
advance a pro-working class political agenda. We shall continue to build the working class’s
consciousness and ideological cohesion. Lastly we shall continue building the engines of
COSATU and the working class.
We remain committed to the full and speedy realisation of the goals of the National
Democratic Revolution and shall spare no effort in ensuring that we play a decisive role in
the resolution of the three interrelated contradictions, viz. national oppression of the
majority by a small racist minority, the super-exploitation of workers, and the triple
oppression faced by women, as a basis of creating a new non-racial, non-sexist, democratic
and prosperous South Africa. As a leading detachment of the working class, we shall more
than ever ensure that we earn our historic place as a primary motive force of the NDR.
To us the most direct route to socialism is through a successful transformation of our society
in a manner that addresses all three interrelated contradictions leading to our current
national grievances. At the same time we reaffirm that the struggle for a socialist South
Africa cannot be suspended. That struggle is ongoing and is certainly not in contradiction
with the goals of the NDR for a fundamental transformation of our society. We seek to push
back the market today, whilst ensuring that we build an activist developmental state that
has the capacity to lead the transformation project. It must ensure not only a new growth
paradigm, capable of addressing the triple challenge of poverty, unemployment and
inequalities, but also meet the basic needs of our people.
We recognise the major advances our country has registered under the ANC government.
This includes delivery of basic needs; which has meant millions having access to water,
electricity, education, healthcare, etc. We congratulate this government on treating 1.2
million South Africans living with HIV/AIDS and aiming to treat 15 million more by June next
Unlike some, we do not underestimate the important role these gains have made to the
lives of our people. We will continue to work with the government to ensure that even more
is done on this front.
We recall that at the end of the tenth anniversary of our freedom, we made a painful
conclusion that in economic terms the first decade of freedom saw white monopoly capital
gaining more than the working class. We have committed ourselves to ensuring that in the
second decade, the working class gains more. Yet, as we are left with only three years
before the end of this second decade, we conclude that there can be no doubt that the
trajectory followed since 1994 will continue.
The working class have seen rising levels of unemployment, which today stands at 36, 6%,
greater than any other middle-income country or any comparable economy. Poverty
remains widespread, afflicting 48% of our population who live on R10, 00 a day or less,
though this figure could be over 60%, based on the 2010 UN Human Development Report.
South Africa has become the most unequal society in the world, demonstrated by the fact
that the richest decile is earning about 94 times more than the poorest decile of our
Africans, who constitute 79, 4% of the population, account for 41, 2% of the household
income from work and social grants, whereas whites, who account for only for 9, 2% of the
population, receive 45, 3% of income. The poorest 10% of the population share R1, 1 billion,
whilst the riches 10% share R381 billion.
Our country is trapped in a developmental paradigm that has simply reproduced these
conditions for 17 years now. Many are asking a question as to whether the NDR has not
reached a tipping point where it could be concluded that its main benefits have accrued
more to capital instead of those who led the struggle for liberation. We commit ourselves to
a new struggle to bring the NDR back on track.
We are also determined that freedom and democracy means more than what we have
achieved already. We want economic freedom, now! We are under no illusion as to what
this means. We will continue to struggle to ensure that our economy is placed on a new jobcreating
developmental path. This will only happen if we restructure the economy, end the
concentration of wealth in a few hands, end the domination of the mining/finance complex
and end its export orientation. We demand that our state be more activist and
interventionist and uses every avenue to drive this new development paradigm.
We have made an observation that in economic terms white monopoly capital has more
reason to celebrate the 1994 democratic breakthrough. Profits have increased whilst the
share of wages to the GDP has been falling. Exchange controls have been gradually lifted
and big business has been allowed to list their companies in New York, London and
Melbourne. Freedom has meant that they have increasingly moved off of our shores in
pursuit of profits. Today more and more local companies are externally owned.
We dread the reality that we will come to the same conclusion in 2014, at the end of the
second decade of our democratic breakthrough – that in economic terms capital has more
to celebrate than workers. To date our reality is that of grinding poverty, deepening
inequalities and skyrocketing unemployment, which in affects black people more than it
does white people.
In this 5th Central Committee, inspired by our theme “Building COSATU engines to heighten
class consciousness for an alternative development path”, we spent four days debating
amongst ourselves, as delegates, with our Allies, and a host of other organs of peoples
power that were invited to participate.
We are happy that we have pursued the mandate of our 10th National Congress. We have
begun to chart the way forward towards our 11th National Congress to be held in September
2012. We took a number of resolutions to ensure that our freedom means more than just
the right to vote. Our line of march is outlined below!
Intensify a Living Wage Campaign
In our view a living wage is the cornerstone of a just and equitable society. The determining
factor in the levels of poverty and inequality in South Africa is the pervasiveness of low-paid
work, often termed ‘poverty wages’.
A living wage is not simply about meeting the minimum levels of food, housing, transport or
education needs; it has to:
1. Move low-paid or under-employed workers out of poverty wages
2. Create a sustainable wage income that meets all basic needs
3. Improve skills and employment opportunities
4. Reduce income inequality and poverty
5. Challenge the contention that minimum wages effect growth in employment and will
eventually result in declining employment
We resolved to take the Living Wage Campaign to new heights. We have agreed on the
demands that will unite organised and unorganised workers, and unite unemployed workers
with organised workers, with a particular focus on addressing women and youth
marginalisation and super-exploitation.
We are angry that even in sectors, which have Bargaining Councils some employers are
blatantly refusing to abide by negotiated agreements, even threatening to close their
factories and move to countries where workers are worse paid.
We will strengthen our organisational capacity to drive the Living Wage Campaign through
amongst other means forming a “command centre” at the head office to coordinate the
campaign on an ongoing basis.
The Living Wage Campaign is linked to the other demands we have made, that the economy
must be restructured and moved away from its export orientation and dependence on the
mining and finance complex. A new developmental path must be underpinned by a Growth
Path capable of putting our economy into a new labour absorbing paradigm aiming for full
employment. We are determined to ensure that the remaining period towards the
celebration of our second decade of freedom becomes the period for the working class,
laying the foundations for a new developmental path.
Lessons from the 2011 local government elections
We assessed the May 2011 local government elections. We celebrate the ANC once again
confounded sceptics and critics by posting a resounding victory by winning 63% of the vote.
This victory is remarkable in that it occurs in the context of a massive economic crisis as a
result of the worldwide recession. All political parties who presided over that crisis in
Europe were wiped from power.
It is not the time however for complacency. These elections reveal a number of
organisational, political and socio-economic challenges that the Alliance must confront.
Victory must not lull us into a comfort zone, and we cannot take the support received for
granted. The writing is on the wall and we have chosen to act decisively to ensure that we
address these weaknesses. We call on the Alliance to have a discussion on these lessons.
We will build our organisation and improve its ability to effectively lead campaigns
We are pleased that COSATU continues to buck the international trend in terms of
continuous membership increases when ILO reports show a decline in trade union
membership in many parts of the world. Our membership grew by 3.8% from 1 812 569 in
the last Central Committee held in September 2007 to 2 070 739 in 2011 and we are still
aiming for our target of four million members in 2015.
We noted that while a number of affiliated unions are facing daunting challenges, on
average COSATU unions are strong and growing, with effective management of their
financial resources. This is where the strength of the federation is drawn. We developed
detailed strategies to ensure continued growth and better servicing of our members by their
We however noted with deep concern that we have not succeeded in effectively
implementing our previous congress resolutions to organise vulnerable workers such as
farm and domestic workers, those in the informal sector, taxi drivers, migrant workers,
youth and women. We have instructed the Central Executive Committee to ensure that
financial resources are released to ensure effective organisation of these vulnerable
We urge the Central Executive Committee and the NOBs to continue ensuring that the
current unevenness in the federation in terms of affiliates’ strengths is addressed more
systematically. In this regard we reaffirm that COSATU has a right to intervene in any union
if in the view of the federation the unity and cohesion of the union is threatened or if the
union is not positioned to service its own members.
We say No to Labour Brokering, Wal-Mart and electronic tollgates
We have already submitted a Section 77 notice to signal our intention to embark on 2-day
stayaway and other forms of protest action to ensure that labour brokering is outlawed,
unless our demands are met. Wal-Mart will not be allowed in without conditions that will
ensure that we protect our economy, in particular our manufacturing and retail sectors as
well as local jobs. We demand a public transport system that is affordable, accessible and
efficient. The electronic tollgates introduced in Gauteng, which will be a key feature
everywhere in the country, must be stopped.
We reiterate our demand for the restructuring of the economy
We reiterate our welcome of the publication of the long-awaited New Growth Path (NGP).
For more than 16 years COSATU has campaigned for the introduction of a New Growth
Path, in recognition of the fact that our country is in an absolutely wrong and disastrous
growth path that will continue to reproduce unemployment, poverty and inequality.
The government’s NGP and IPAP2 contain many excellent proposals for restructuring the
economy and creating jobs. Subject to further tweaking and reworking some of the NGP
proposals have a potential to unlock South Africa’s potential.
Overall however the proposals falls far short of a comprehensive and overarching
developmental strategy capable of unleashing a plan that will fundamentally transform our
economy and adequately address the triple challenges of extraordinary high levels of
unemployment, widespread poverty and deepening inequalities. Further, it will be
sabotaged unless there is a fundamental change in government’s fiscal and monetary
policies to provide the environment and finance for a developing, industrial, manufacturing
The NGP document in its current form does not adequately take forward the ANC 52nd
National Conference economic resolutions and will require an overhaul if it is to succeed in
uniting the Alliance behind the type of programme envisaged by all Alliance formations.
We call on the Alliance to ensure that the commitment made by the ANC NEC to open a
debate on the concerns of the allied formation is taken forward.
The all round battle against corruption, greed and individualism
We condemn the massive extent of corruption, in both the private and public sectors, and
the theft and waste of public funds, which is bleeding the country dry. The country’s leaders
must tackle corruption and hunt down culprits, regardless of their political affiliations or
political and economic connections.
As an example, leaders must go to the Eastern Cape and find out who was responsible for
the collapse of the health and education departments, which has led to the end of free
meals for scholars, textbooks and stationery not being bought, and the dismissal of
temporary teachers. This is undermining the credibility of our movement. The ANC must
find those responsible and tell them “sorry, comrade, you have to go”.
The politics of patronage, corruption and greed has destroyed the ethic of self-sacrifice and
service to the people that characterises the revolutionary movement. The dangerous
growth of factionalism is increasingly not about ideology or political differences, but about
access to tenders.
The worst problem of all is the emergence of death squads in several provinces linked to
corruption and the murder of people who have blown the whistle. There is a real danger
that if all this continues, the entire state and society will be auctioned to the highest bidder,
and we shall be on the slide towards a corrupt banana republic.
COSATU is setting up its ‘Corruption Watch’, which will be launched in December 2011. It is
a concrete way for us to play an active part in the battle against this scourge.
Delegates are aware of the need to promote a culture of service to the public within our
own ranks. We have to keep reminding public sector workers that they are not just
employees but revolutionaries, playing a vital role in the struggle to transform our society.
Our adoption of under-performing schools is a concrete way in which we are serving our
Contrary to many print media headlines, we never intended to discuss the so-called ANC
succession debates. In our view the challenge is not to embark on a potentially divisive
debate on leadership 18 months before the ANC conference. Rather, our challenge is to
ensure that we confront the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality now,
not tomorrow. Our preoccupation is with the real challenges facing our people.
Our task remains to support the current leadership elected in the previous elective
congresses of all Alliance formations so that they succeed to address our challenges, as
guided by the 2009 ANC elections manifesto. This manifesto identified five core challenges,
priorities our people themselves identified. Our task is to ensure that when we return to
our people in 2014 to seek a further mandate to govern we are able to produce tangible
results in all these priority areas.
The Central Committee however warned that the for the leadership to retain its popular
support they must stop dithering and zigzagging, pull up their socks and start implementing
all the policies of the Polokwane Conference and the 2009 elections, particularly these five
The battle against the HIV/AIDS
We listened to an inspiring, informative and passionate address by the Minister of Health,
Dr Aaron Motsoaledi. HIV/ AIDS remain a major health challenge. We noted with concern
that since 2001 there has been an increase in the percentage of HIV prevalence in the
country with more females being affected than males. We agree with the Minister of
Health’s assertion that “HIV/AIDS is men spread and women suffered”! A staggering 10.6%
of the population was infected by HIV in 2009. The World Health Organisation report in
2011 says HIV prevalence for those aged between 15 – 49 years of aged is 17%, which is an
increase from 16% in 2009.
We hail the HIV/AIDS and STI Strategic Plan for South Africa (National Strategic Plan, NSP) as
a mark of a turnaround in government’s policy on HIV/AIDS. Thanks to this turnaround the
Minister reports that 1.4 million people are on ARV treatment. In the past year nearly 12
million people have been voluntarily tested for HIV and 1.5 million people newly diagnosed
as HIV positive.
It is clear that we are far from defeating the scourge of HIV/AIDS. We recommit ourselves to
the full implementation of the resolutions adopted by the 9th and 10th national congress of
our federation. We will ensure that we fully participate in the drawing up of the new NSP.
Lessons from the international political situation
We debated the current international situation and analysed its implications for the left
project, in particular for COSATU and its allied formations. Our Central Committee could not
have been better timed in that it was convened in the wake of the biggest economic crisis
whose impact is still being felt, not only economically but also in terms of massive social and
The centre of economic gravity has decisively shifted to the South and particularly China,
with the developed world increasingly dependent on the South to stabilise their economies.
The economic orthodoxy has been shattered and the current economic growth model is
being questioned. The world is confronted with the prospect of a scenario of unprecedented
progress and hope vs. deepening human misery and conflict.
We have seen the rise of progressive left governments in Latin America. Throughout Europe,
centre-left social-democratic parties, which adopted neo liberal economic policies, have
been replaced by centre right parties. We have also seen the aggressive posture being taken
by the developed countries, including against their own people, through attacks on workers
and the adoption of austerity measures that have reversed all the gains the people have
made in decades.
We debated the lessons from the rest of the world, including examples of working alliances,
failed alliances, worker withdrawal from politics, splits in the unions, mishandling of
alliances, launch of new left parties, etc. We noted that North Africa is not far away. We will
continue engaging with all these lessons and scenarios between now and our 11th National
We unanimously came to the conclusion that the only scenario which represents a viable
option to us is scenario 1 – the strengthening of the Alliance we have with the ANC and the
SACP. We know it is difficult to maintain the status quo. We will avoid the emergence of
other scenarios, none of which will be in the best interests of our members and the poor
who yearn for more effective strategies to end their misery and deprivation.
We will continue to engage with the progressive alternatives outlined in the discussion
paper and other progressive alternatives, which will take us forward. We need in particular
to study the alternatives being developed by the left governments in Latin America. We
have resolved to support President’ Hugo Chavez’s proposal to convene the “First socialist
international of the 21st Century”.
We accept that the popular uprisings taking place in the North Africa and the Middle East
are genuine revolts against dictatorial governments, which are led by both the youth and
workers. We will engage with our sister unions in these regions, providing that they are
genuine, independent, worker-controlled unions.
We condemn the agenda of NATO, in particular that of the USA, France and others to use
the need to protect the struggling masses against their dictator in order to drive a regime
We insist that for this scenario of a working Alliance to gain more ground the whole Alliance
must be a strategic political centre that drives transformation, collectively. We committed
ourselves to work tirelessly to drive the joint Alliance programme adopted in the 2011
The Central Committee heard rousing addresses from international guests. Sharan Burrow,
General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation, reported on the
worldwide attacks by governments on workers’ wages, jobs and social benefits, and Phillip
Jennings of UNI Global Union urged us to continue our part in the global resistance to the
We pledge our solidarity with the people around the world who are fighting for democracy,
freedom and human rights, including in Swaziland, Palestine, Western Sahara, and Burma,
and congratulate the people of Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain, Greece and other countries who
have been battling to overcome tyranny and attacks on their rights.
We call on our members to mobilise, increase their political and ideological cohesion, and
remain united behind their demands, as summarised in this declaration. We call on the
unemployed, in particular the youth and student formations, women and rural
communities, to join us, the organised workers, in these working class struggles.
We call on our allied formations – the ANC, SACP and SANCO – to stand shoulder-to-shoulder
with us in the struggle to deepen our national democratic revolution and our freedom and
to ensure that we address all the three interrelated and intertwined contradictions
We shall spare neither effort nor energy to ensuring we succeed in these historic tasks!
Workers of the world unite!
Forward to COSATU’s 11th National Congress in 2012!
Socialism is the future! Build it now!
COSATU 5th Central Committee Resolution on the Local
Government Elections Assessment
Local Government Election Campaign Assessment, Leadership, Deployments
This 5th Central Committee noting:
1. The decisive ANC victory in the 2011 local government elections compounded critics
who believed that its supporters had abandoned the ANC.
2. The ANC’s loss of significant ground in many municipalities constitutes a real challenge
for the future elections. To us the challenge is to ensure that the ANC wins by more than
a two-thirds majority so that it can drive transformation including changing the
constitution in line with our demands on such issues as the property clause.
3. The grave cost of factional battles to the ANC’s electoral dominance.
4. The service delivery backlogs that still exist in ANC controlled municipalities.
5. The incoherent campaign messages peddled by ANC at a national level.
6. The late start of the ANC election campaign.
7. Real or perceived corruption at local government level contributes to the ANC’s loss of
8. The disappointing local government elections in the Western Cape.
1. That an overwhelming victory of the ANC is necessary in order to transform local
government in South Africa.
2. The voting boycott by ANC supporters constitutes one of the biggest threats to the ANC
at local government level.
Therefore this Central Committee resolves:
1. We adopt the assessment of the local government discussion paper and commit to
discuss the lessons drawn from this assessment with our members. We urge all Alliance
partners to meet and confront all the challenges that these elections have brought to
2. We reject the rightwing and anti majoritarian liberals propaganda offensive aimed at
putting pressure against the black majority to abandon their liberation movement for
rightwing, liberal, pro business and anti poor parties; in particular the DA.
3. COSATU to continue to mobilise workers behind the ANC and for the full realisations of
all the demands of the Freedom Charter.
4. To sharpen our tools and theories on the state so that our members can be educated on
the challenges we face to transform the state so that it can be a tool to serve the
interest of the masses of the people.
5. COSATU affiliates, particularly those that organise at local government level must
continue to be at the forefront of anti-corruption campaigns.
6. COSATU working with the Alliance formations and organs of peoples power must
campaign to ensure that a new culture of service delivery to our people is cultivated
amongst all elected people’s representatives and officials in particular in this critical
layer of government.
7. COSATU must continue to oppose The Protection of Information Bill, as it is a stumbling
block to our anti-corruption campaign and the protection of whistle blowers.
8. The task of COSATU is to build a non-racial movement capable of uniting all workers
irrespective of their race, culture and language differences. We must study the
phenomenon of workers from minority races in particular the Coloured and Indian
communities voting attitudes. We must establish the reasons why they vote for an anti
worker and pro business political party in order to answer if this voting trend is similar
to what has happened in Europe where workers have abandoned social democratic
parties for rightwing or even fascist parties.
9. COSATU’s challenge is to ensure that the NDR liberate Blacks in general and Africans in
particular, it must also ensure that areas of common concerns and solidarity between all
workers irrespective of their races are identified. Our campaigns must ensure that we
address these areas of common concerns that require solidarity amongst all workers.
Local Economic Development and Apartheid Fault-lines
1. The global capitalist crisis and its impact on the local state and its erosion of the already
limited financial strength of municipalities.
2. The persistence of cash-strapped municipalities is a legacy of apartheid, which was not
addressed by the adoption of GEAR and its austerity measures.
3. The crisis of municipal under-spending in ANC controlled municipalities.
4. The huge service delivery backlogs that exist in terms of water, electricity, housing, and
health and education services.
5. The inadequacy of and the poor allocation of national grants to municipalities.
6. The corruption and inefficiency of the procurement process in many municipalities and
the resultant attack on the objective for decent work.
7. The dissatisfaction of many communities with demarcation.
1. That the apartheid fault-lines will not be addressed unless a fundamental economic shift
happens, ending the focus on export orientation and the domination by the mining and
finance complex; and putting in place a new developmental trajectory with job creation
and the meeting of basic needs of our people as its key priorities.
2. That local economic development is heavily dependent on an interventionist state that
assumes primary responsibility in distributing goods and service at local government
3. In the relevance of the principle of cross-subsidisation, where wealthy areas subsidise
poorer residential areas through rates and taxes.
4. That the imperative to form unitary municipalities with a single tax base is yet to be
1. We shall continue to argue and campaign for a connection to be made between rural
poverty, dysfunctional rural based local governments and the need for restructuring of
the economy, a new growth path, an aggressive rural development strategy, agrarian
reform and food security.
2. Recognising that restructuring of the economy and a new development path is a
medium to long term strategy, we will campaign for a new formula to be developed so
that more resources are released from the national government to support local
governments who have no strong tax base.
3. All municipalities must stop outsourcing services and making use of labour brokers. As
part of addressing the apartheid fault-lines, the state must deliver services directly,
making the state more accountable and creating permanent jobs. These services can
include road cleaning, repair of damaged infrastructure, cleaning of parks, cemeteries
4. Tender processes must be transparent with those who win state tenders published in
local newspapers so that our people can monitor and ensure there is no corruption and
favouritism. COSATU must continue to demand that there should be representative
5. That Municipalities and the state in general must stop the sale of state-owned land,
expropriate privately-owned land and strike a balance between the use of land for social
development and production purposes.
6. In the interim period, Treasury guidelines on tendering must be supported and
implemented at local government level.
7. COSATU must play a role in the resuscitation of cooperatives at a local level.
8. The model of electricity distribution in the post apartheid period and the backlogs of
maintenance and aging infrastructure must be urgently addressed.
9. The overreliance on consultants to produce reports at local government level must
urgently come to an end. The local state must build in house capacity for research as
opposed to paying millions to consultants – millions that could be rechanneled towards
10. The principles of cross subsidisation where wealthy areas subsidise poorer areas and the
proximity to services must be the basis for demarcation. COSATU supports demarcations
designed to ensure more integrated communities. We reject maintenance of the
apartheid spatial development.
11. There is an urgent need to review the two-tier local government system (district and
local municipalities) and how this delays and complicates service delivery.
Participatory Local Government
1. The persistence of community protests in many municipalities.
2. The dysfunctional nature of ward committees.
1. Participatory local government must not only be symbolic but must bear tangible results
2. The ANC’s involvement of communities in the selection of candidates, though noble,
could have been better managed.
1. To support the ANC’s NEC commission tasked with the responsibility to investigate the
complaints communities and Alliance structures have risen in relation to the nomination
of councillors and the manipulation of the list process.
2. To educate communities about the ANC’s guidelines for the selection of candidates.
3. COSATU locals must play a role in pressuring ward councillors to hold regular meetings
with communities as per the Municipal Structures Act.
4. COSATU locals must have an interest in building strong ward committees through direct
participation but also raising community awareness about the ward committees.
5. COSATU must support the call to make local government elections coincide with
National and Provincial elections.
6. COSATU welcomes the engagement between SAMWU/COSATU and the ANC NOBs to
ensure that our concerns regarding the Municipal Systems Bill are addressed.
4. Local Government and its Operation and Capacity building
1. The debates around the role of senior ANC leaders in RECs and their occupation of
senior municipal posts and how this interferes with service delivery.
2. Capacity development of councillors is still lagging.
1. That capacitating of councillors is crucial to making local government work for the
1. Councillor induction must include time management in order to capacitate councillors to
effectively allocate time between council, caucus and communities.
2. The administrative instability caused by senior ANC leaders at REC level also serving as
senior municipal officials should be addressed by asserting the collective will of the ANC
as an organisation.
3. Performance reports from municipalities must serve as guidelines for municipal
4. The situation whereby members of the mayoral committee double up, as chairpersons
of standing committees must come to an end as it stifles oversight and accountability.
5. Councillors must reside where they serve.
5. Strengthening the Role of COSATU and the Alliance
1. The Alliance must collectively go back to visit communities which are currently
experiencing service delivery difficulties.
2. COSATU members must be active in local communities and should join the SACP and the
3. There is a need for decisiveness and even-handedness in dealing with discipline in the
movement, in particular in the ANC.
4. The Alliance must re-establish Service Delivery Committees to monitor service delivery
and develop an early warning system.
5. COSATU must consider separating organising and education officers in order to make
space for a specialised focus on organising.
6. COSATU must provide more support to affiliates operating at local government level,
especially when they take up campaigns around corruption and service delivery.
7. The principle of solidarity and “an injury to one is an injury to all” will aid us in mobilising
the working class.
8. COSATU members must participate in the ANC as members in their own right.
9. COSATU must encourage a cross-sectoral approach to campaigns.
10. COSATU must develop a deployment framework on leadership that allows COSATU to
have a greater voice and interactions with its cadres in the local state. This can be
applied informally through for instance the creation of COSATU discussion forums in the
local state. The emphasis is that cadres deployed by the ANC must ultimately be
accountable to the ANC.
11. The movement must act decisively against corrupt elements within the organisation and
those within the local state.
12. SAMWU will sponsor a paper on service delivery at local government level that should
eventually be considered by the COSATU CEC as a policy of the federation.
1. That capitalism is a system based on extreme inequalities, massive poverty for the
majority and massive wealth concentration for a few, hence the inevitability of social
tensions and profound crises and more importantly the centrality of class struggle.
2. That class inequalities, tribalism, racism, sexism and xenophobia are both elements and
manifestations of the crisis facing the capitalist system in general, not least in our own
3. That high unemployment is the main reason behind forced migration in Southern Africa.
4. Xenophobia is largely a scapegoat for frustrations arising from persisting socio-economic
ills and a lack of profound understanding of the root causes of the crisis facing people
from other countries and how they relate to our internal situation. This begins to shape
social relations in a way that takes the form of them and us or “outsiders”, hence the
brewing tensions in communities.
5. The destructive role that some elements of the media have played in negatively
6. The different types of abuse of migrants at our borders.
1. That our struggle against xenophobia is inseparable from the struggle against the
capitalist system and that xenophobia is just one of the manifestations of the crisis of
the capitalist system.
2. That migrants and foreign nationals are equally entitled to all the rights and
responsibilities enshrined in the constitution of the country and the Universal
declaration of human rights.
3. As organised workers, we need to fight to change negative attitudes and stereotypes
towards foreign nationals.
1. The implementation of the COSATU Growth Path towards Full Employment remains the
kernel to addressing forced migration in the SADC region. There is an urgent need for an
over-arching regional industrial development strategy.
2. The Decent Work and Living Wage Campaigns must have a regional reach so as to avoid
the downward variation of labour standards. COSATU must build cross-border
programmes, especially within SADC, with other trade unions with a view to close space
for capital to use sub-continental labour as a reserve against a living wage in South
3. COSATU must oppose trade policies such as the EPAs (Economic Partnership Agreements
between SADC countries and the EU), which do not protect vulnerable, labour intensive
industries and do not allow for the growth of strategic economic sectors.
4. Reorient our education system to produce scarce skills whilst at the same time
advocating for the development of regional economies in order to address the brain
drain from neighbouring countries into South Africa.
5. Reaffirm the COSATU resolution on organising skilled foreign labour in the sectors where
they exist so that they can fight and defend their rights. COSATU must also support the
self-organisation and integration of migrant workers to effectively bargain for their
6. Monitor the impact of the existing anti-xenophobia programmes implemented in
different COSATU provinces.
7. All government departments must have a role to play in combating xenophobia. There is
a need to strengthen the Department of Labour inspectors in order to protect illegal
migrants against exploitation and abuse by employers. Other important government
departments include Home Affairs, Justice and Constitutional Development, the South
African Revenue Services and many others.
8. COSATU must urge government to reinforce policies and legislation that regulates the
traditional health practice in order to avoid the proliferation of bogus traditional health
9. COSATU must advocate for the review of migration dispensation to care for foreigners.
7. In addition, the following must be done
1. COSATU must develop special support and legal assistance to asylum seekers in order to
regularise their situation and that of their families. We must also create capacity for
conflict resolution and mediation, particularly early warning systems towards that end.
2. Call upon political parties to put xenophobia as one of the critical issues in their
3. Call on municipalities to urgently action anti-xenophobia programmes.
4. Popularise and promote African heritage in all our communities.
5. Build popular consciousness against xenophobia, racism and sexism through worker
6. COSATU must engage allies in civil society such as faith-based organisations, gender
advocacy groups, human rights, traditional healers and youth organisations in the
struggle against xenophobia and in view of organising a conference on xenophobia.
COSATU 5th Central Committee Resolution Building Organisation
Organising and campaigns strategies
This Central Committee Noting:
1. Affiliated unions tend to work in silos from each other.
2. We have lost the culture of organising and linking our struggles with mass democratic
movements (MDMs), resulting in communities not taking up our struggles and making it
easier for employers to undermine our objectives.
3. Lack of solidarity between affiliates, as during strikes members of other unions often
cross the picket line.
Therefore this Central Committee resolves:
1. That the organising department should investigate practical methods to enable affiliates
to work together in an integrated manner.
2. That communication of educational materials should be accessible taking into account
low literacy and education levels and different languages.
3. Locals need to be provided with adequate funds and resources to carry out their work.
4. COSATU must enable the building of affiliate capacity to monitor membership and
collection of subscription fees.
5. To ensure greater co-ordination at federation level by the campaigns unit in publicising
and educating on relevant affiliate strike actions to promote greater solidarity by
membership of other unions to prevent crossing the picket line and public buy-in.
6. To convene a bilateral with SANCO to identify possibilities for joint programmes of
7. COSATU should establish sub-locals in the wards.
8. To participate in ward committees, community policing forums and other structures at a
local level to ensure greater linkage between community and workers struggles.
9. To identify strategies and enforcement mechanisms that counter victimisation of
workers who join unions.
10. To revitalise May Day using emphasis on arts and cultural activities as a mechanism to
publicise and educate about worker struggles and interests, as opposed to focusing on
11. To engage POPCRU on initiatives to sensitise its membership to counter police abuse
perpetrated during strike and protest action.
12. That all campaigns should be linked to education programmes undertaken jointly by
COSATU campaigns and education departments as well as DITSELA. Popular literature
should be produced publicising campaigns and distributed to membership and
13. That COSATU engage progressive civil society organisations on developing a joint
platform of demands in order to broaden support for campaigns.
14. That COSATU leads the revival of the mass democratic movements.
15. To launch an annual listening campaign during the month of May, which involves the
deployment of CEC and PEC leadership in provinces.
16. COSATU has a right to intervene in any affiliate if in its view the union is facing whatever
kind of challenge. COSATU interventions in relation to union problems or challenges
must not be to expel these unions but rather to find lasting political and organisational
solutions, which the CEC must engage on.
17. To intensify and strengthen our health and safety campaigns at the workplace.
This Central Committee noting:
1. That the phenomenon of the informal sector exists as a result of the capitalist system,
with informal workers being amongst the most marginalised and vulnerable in the
2. That division between informal and formal sectors are artificial.
3. That there already are some initiatives to organise informal sector workers by
progressive civil society organisations and some COSATU affiliates.
4. Various joint programmes already exist between COSATU and its affiliates with
progressive civil society organising in the sector.
5. The irregular nature of income received by informal workers and the generally
precarious nature and conditions of their work.
6. The hostile environment that they are subjected to which inhibits organising, especially
taking into account harsh municipal by-laws and constant police harassment.
This Central Committee believing that:
It is imperative that we forge meaningful links with those in the informal sector, as part
of our overall objective of unifying the working class.
The survivalist nature inherent in informal sector work, means that ultimately we should
seek to eradicate the informal sector in line with other objectives to restructure the
economy to ensure that it is inclusive of all and is able to deliver a decent quality of life
While we should build partnerships with and intensify efforts to organise the informal
sector, this should not be construed as support for growing the incidence of informal
The Central Committee therefore resolves:
1. That affiliates and the federation make provision for financial and human resources to
enable organising of informal workers in line with our commitment to principles of
solidarity, including financial solidarity.
2. Provision for a formal platform/structure to co-ordinate sharing of ideas within COSATU
and to build links with existing associations/organisations representing the informal
3. That COSATU must initiate a campaign against the reduction of rights and job security
4. That COSATU to lead a campaign targeting problematic by-laws and police abuse.
5. That we engage POPCRU and other relevant authorities with the aim to sensitise against
police abuse and harassment especially against street vendors.
6. That organisation and recruiting of informal sector workers should be on the basis of
inclusivity and should be accommodated where possible within existing unions without
creating additional unions.
7. COSATU to initiate the process of uniting and convening a national summit of all
progressive formations organising the informal sector by October 2011.
8. COSATU to undertake a study on the process of organising and mobilising the informal
sector within the SADC region in conjunction with SATUCC.
This Central Committee Noting:
1. COSATU has numerous resolutions aimed at addressing difficulties in organising and
enforcing protection for domestic and farm workers, which have not been implemented.
2. The recent adoption of the ILO convention on domestic workers, which may be used as a
minimum platform to enable taking forward domestic worker struggles locally and
3. The exploitative living and working conditions of sea-going and fishing workers who are
excluded from the protection of all South African labour law.
This Central Committee Believing:
1. The principle of solidarity must find meaningful expression across the federation in
respect to vulnerable workers and should include a measure of financial solidarity.
2. That the exclusion of any sector or category of workers from the protection of labour
laws and rights violates the constitutional right to equality and equal protection of the
Therefore this Central Committee resolves:
1. To provide for a financial levy in line with the commitment to financial solidarity that
would fund affiliation fees and relevant campaigns.
2. To lead a campaign for legislation and/or government intervention to address obstacles
of organisers to farms.
3. To reaffirm existing resolutions and mandate the CEC to develop an implementation
plan and programme of action in respect of domestic workers and farm workers.
4. To campaign to enforce and increase protection of domestic worker rights, which should
include emphasis on compelling enforcement by members, leadership and officials
within affiliates in their own homes.
5. To review strategies targeting individual sectors to ensure the development of new and
innovative strategies that address specific characteristics that undermine recruitment.
6. To employ innovative strategies to recruit farm workers and domestic workers, including
using resources and human capacity of other affiliates to assist.
7. To identify dedicated recruitment weeks for domestic and farm workers.
8. To engage and lobby Government to ratify the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers.
9. To support domestic workers on the amendment to the Sectoral Determinations for
Domestic Workers and Farm Workers in line with the living wage campaign.
10. To develop clear timeframes for the implementation of the Farm Workers Summit
11. To engage alliance partners on a joint programme of action to address the working and
living conditions of domestic and farm workers.
12. To campaign for the amendment of the Merchant Shipping Act of 1951 to ensure that
the labour legislation is extended to all sea going and fishing workers.
13. To strengthen our campaign to ensure the protection of rights for seasonal workers and
the extension of collective agreements to reflect this.
This Central Committee Noting:
1. The National Gender Committee has failed to develop clear programmes on the
implementation of past resolutions and has been unable to monitor affiliate
enforcement and progress.
This Central Committee therefore resolves:
1. That relevant and well-resourced gender structures should be established at all levels
including in affiliates.
2. To provide for minimum quotas for representation of women amongst leadership of
affiliates, with the objective of eventually achieving a minimum of 50% representation of
3. To implement gender sensitivity training for men in unions at all levels.
4. To negotiate childcare facilities at workplaces.
5. To work with the PWMSA to develop a common programme of activism and campaigns
on core issues affecting working class women, particularly young women workers who
are mostly employed in precarious jobs.
6. That the Chris Hani Brigade should ensure that it targets (a minimum of 50%) and
involves women in the federation, with the emphasis being on developing women
7. To ensure conscious utilisation of RPL as part of the programme to empower women to
lead in the workplace.
8. That the gender desk of the federation should be expanded to a full department to
ensure that there is adequate capacity to deal with the challenges posed.
9. That the responsibility for driving relevant campaigns and programmes should not be
restricted to gender structures but should rather be mainstreamed and taken up by all
leaders in the federation.
10. That the NGC should develop a comprehensive policy on gender indicators against which
progress may be measured in the federation and affiliates.
11. TCOSATU members must actively participate and swell the ranks of the ANCWL to
ensure the development of a working class bias.
12. To develop programmes that enable women leaders to mentor and build capacity
amongst female membership.
This Central Committee therefore resolves:
1. To endorse the recommendation in the Secretariat report on youth, but defer the issue
of LIFO (Last-in-first-out) for further discussion to the affiliates up to the next Congress.
2. To employ new communication styles and modes which are relevant to the culture of
youth and to take into account current technology including the use of social media
networking as a tool for organising.
3. To work and strengthen COSAS, SASCO, YCL and ANCYL as a link to young workers and
raise awareness of the value of joining and building unions.
4. To establish youth desks at affiliate and federation level to facilitate the development of
recruitment and campaigning strategies.
5. To campaign for the inclusion in curricula at schools and FET colleges teaching on trade
unionism and political education as a subject.
6. To embark on targeted programmes aimed at the development of young workers and
women to be elected as shop stewards and increase their employment as organisers.
7. To utilise churches, schools and sports activities to support recruitment of young
workers and women.
8. To develop joint campaigns on relevant social issues such as HIV/AIDS
Jobs and Poverty Campaign, Labour Brokering and Walmart
Therefore the Central Committee resolves:
1. To launch a section 77 application and a campaign involving a 2-day stay away to ensure
the eradication of labour brokering. This should also entail protest action linked to other
actions on electricity, toll roads, public transport and other social services.
2. To ensure that manufacturing unions engage in a joint programme of action and
campaign together with SACCAWU and the retail sector against Walmart.
3. To support the appeal launched by SACCAWU against the decision of the Competition
Tribunal to allow the Walmart-Massmart merger.
4. As part of the jobs and poverty campaign, to initiate a discussion and investigation on
the appropriate form of foreign direct investment that should be permitted in South
Africa, that would promote decent work and the eradication of poverty.
On public education, public service and public services ethos
This Central Committee Noting:
1. The current challenges and crisis facing our education system and the efforts of the
democratic state to confront the education crisis.
2. The role that may be played by COSATU, its affiliates, and the broader democratic
movement in resolving the education crisis.
3. The critical role of education in the growth path and the capacity of the state.
4. The need to de-urbanise the provision of education and the provision of public services
to ensure accessibility of services in rural and less developed areas.
5. The need to improve the efficiency of the public service as consistent with the demands
of a developmental state.
6. The need to improve the working ethos of civil servants in order to improve the quality
of service provided to the working class and address the effect this has for the negative
image and standing of progressive trade unions.
This Central Committee therefore resolves:
1. All affiliates to ensure speedy implementation of the resolution on the “Adopt a school”
2. COSATU to drive the quality of learning and teaching campaign.
3. COSATU should urgently implement its resolution on improving the public service
Climate Change and COP17
This Central Committee Noting:
1. The 10th Congress resolution that identified the disastrous effect of global
warming/climate change and called for more work within the federation on the subject.
2. That with the exception of the recent establishment of a climate change reference team
through Naledi and responses to the Green Paper on National Climate Change Response,
not much work has been done within the federation on the subject.
3. That although as labour we are represented on the National Committee on Climate
Change (NCCC) which is an advisory body to the Minister of Environment, we have not
effectively used the institution to influence our government’s environment policies.
4. That as the 10th Congress resolved, it is the working class, the poor and developing
countries that will be adversely affected by climate change.
5. That unless the working class and its organisations take up the issue of climate change
seriously, all the talk about “green jobs” will amount to nothing except being another
site of accumulation for capitalists.
6. That the United Nations climate change conference, known as the Conference of the
Parties (COP17), takes place in Durban, South Africa on 28 December-30 December
7. That the South African cabinet will finalise the country’s negotiating position for COP17
in October 2011.
8. That in order for us to influence our government’s position before the conference, we
need to finalise our policy position as a federation on climate change before cabinet
finalises its COP17 negotiating position.
This Central Committee Believing:
1. That South Africa’s assumption of COP17’s presidency not only brings responsibility to
our government but to us as labour as many in the environmental justice movement will
look to us to influence government in a manner that promotes progressive
environmental policies within the negotiations.
2. That although South Africa is a developing country in terms of the United Nations
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), we need to acknowledge that the
country is the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHGs) on the continent.
3. That with COP17 being held in our country, we will not only have the opportunity to
educate our members and the broader community on why climate change is a class
issue but will also be able to link up with broader civil society on the matter of the
Therefore this Central Committee Resolves:
1. That the NOBs of the federation should fast track the Naledi research process so that the
August CEC can adopt a developed policy framework on climate change for the
federation. To ensure maximum participation in the process, findings of the Naledi
research project should be distributed to affiliates before the CEC.
2. That as a federation, we will participate in the International Trade Union Congress (ITUC)
workshop on 26-28 July with other union federations like FEDUSA and NACTU.
3. That going forward, we should strengthen our participation and be more effective in the
National Committee on Climate Change (NCCC) in order to influence government’s
negotiating position in COP17.
4. COSATU unions must participate in all COSATU preparations on COP17.
5. That as COSATU we should lead civil society participation including through the Civil
Society Committee (C17), which is responsible for co-ordinating civil society work
around COP17 and mobilise our members for the Global Day of Action on Saturday, 3
December. This should be undertaken both in Durban (where COP17 will take place)
and nationally in all provinces.
6. In the run up to COP17 we should educate our members and communities on climate
change as directed by the 10th Congress.
7. To endorse the “Million Climate Jobs” Campaign.
8. To engage vigorously with the South African White Paper on Climate Change when it is
published by government.
5th COSATU Central Committee
The 5th COSATU Central Committee noting:
1. The changing balance of class forces as a result of the deepening crisis and
contradictions of the capitalist system and the intensified struggles of the working class.
2. The changing political economy on the African continent, particularly the increasing role
of South African capital that requires a new, dynamic and sophisticated strategy to
organise workers and build the cohesion of the working class.
3. The need for a consolidated and comprehensive International Policy guiding the
federation and its affiliates’ work in terms of principles, perspectives, focus, strategic
approaches and general orientation.
4. The lack of effective coordination of international solidarity work in general and the
need for the creation of a Forum to bring together progressive forces around a common
platform on international issues.
5. COSATU enjoys high levels of political and moral credibility, which should be used to
promote and build unity of the international trade union movement
6. The lack of clear and definite linkages with Alliance partners to avoid fragmentation and
build cohesion in our international work, particularly international campaigns and
sharing of perspectives.
7. International work in most of our unions and society in general is not regarded as a
priority matter. This must be addressed.
8. Affiliates failure to submit information on the evaluation of their international work and
affiliations. This did not allow the federation to finalise a comprehensive report that
would have served to give a clear analysis for consideration of current and future
The 5th COSATU Central Committee believing that:
1. International work is intrinsically linked to our domestic priorities and class interests and
must therefore be given centrality if the NDR and the struggle for socialism is to be
effectively and successfully consolidated and advanced.
2. All COSATU affiliates must recognise the critical role of the South African economy on
the continent and the urgency for South African workers to play a decisive role in
building solidarity with fellow workers on the continent.
3. We must identify new spaces and opportunities as presented by this emerging reality, in
order to ascertain how best we can advance international working class struggle.
4. The transformation of the international trade union movement remains a key area of
focus in order to build a strong democratic global trade union movement, and
strengthen South-South solidarity. In this regard SIGTUR must continue to be
capacitated to fulfill its role effectively.
The Central Committee therefore resolves:
On trade union internationalism:
1. We must build capacity to organise and drive a decisive international programme with
clear evaluation and monitoring tools. We urge affiliated unions to comply with the CEC
decision in relation to them outlining their international work. This work should be
consolidated and thoroughly assessed in the International Relations Conference to be
held in 2012 preparing for the 11th COSATU National Congress.
2. We must have a dedicated focus on building and servicing infrastructure to support
trade unions in Africa. The crisis of fragmentation, disunity requires mergers and
support mechanisms to promote unity and working class power.
3. We must redefine and broaden the conceptualisation of solidarity to include more than
just resources, logistics and material capacity or even marches and pickets, but more
profoundly, worker to worker solidarity and sharing of revolutionary perspectives and
lessons. In this regard, we seek to promote joint work in multinational companies to
confront the power of capital from all fronts.
4. We must strengthen organising and recruitment by trade unions on the continent. This
should include closer cooperation between comrades deployed to GUFs and various
sectors in carrying out our work.
5. We must also carry out effective work in relation to the AU and other continental
governance bodies to ensure working class influence at all levels. Whilst we fully
support the right of people to rise against dictatorships in their countries we are
however opposed and reject the NATO regime change agenda in Libya. We call on
NATO to withdraw its forces and give the AU a chance to lead a process to find a
solution that will give Libyans their alien right to determine their own destiny.
6. COSATU must take advantage of comrades deployed (on the basis of their professional
work) to other countries to help strengthen trade unions in those countries, such as
Burundi, the DRC, Sudan, etc.
7. Whilst we are still in favour of maintaining our affiliation with the ITUC, we shall
however maintain and strengthen our relationship with WFTU and work with all
progressive and genuine unions that operate on the basis of the worker control
principle of the federation. Our task is to eventually achieve a total unity of all workers
starting on our own continent with a merger of the ITUC-Africa and OATUU.
8. We shall scale up our historic bilateral relationship with Cuba and ensure that a major
bilateral conference between COSATU and the CTC takes place before the end of 2011
9. We need to work towards the harmonisation of labour laws and the establishment of
minimum standards on the continent in order to address the super-exploitation of
10. We need to work towards the creation of effective institutions to develop, implement
and monitor policies across the continent, starting at national levels.
On economic internationalism:
1. We call for the fundamental transformation of the international multilateral system for
the realisation of a new and democratically constituted international financial and
economic architecture that serves the interests of the majority of the people of the
world. Particular reference is made to the IMF, World Bank, WTO and other multilateral
2. We recognise that the new emerging geo-political and economic blocs, such as BRICS,
present huge potential to challenge the dominance and hegemony of the traditional
western powers in global affairs. In this regard, we must fully assess and appreciate the
implications of this new reality in respect of jobs, trade and development in general,
particularly as regards workers. This means the task of building worker power to
anticipate these developments is critical and urgent in all our countries.
3. We shall work to build on the various initiatives for global economic justice, by
supporting, actively participating and coordinating with other progressive forces on
such issues as cancellation of debt for developing countries, environment, fair trade,
indigenous resources and livelihood, multinational companies and the globalisation of
workers rights and economic justice. The experience of the increased Walmartisation of
our various economies presents serious lessons for a new form of workplace
internationalism and organising.
4. We must convene a SADC Solidarity Conference of trade unions and civil society to
develop a coherent and integrated plan on our regional work given the fast changing
political and economic landscape of SADC, such as the adoption of the SADC-FTA and
the integration of COMESA, PTA, EAC and SADC markets.
On socio-political internationalism:
1. We reaffirm the values of COSATU in relation to human rights, democracy, social
justice, workers rights and gender equality as the underpinning principles in advancing
the agenda of the federation of building popular power and linking it with working class
struggle for a new and just world order.
2. Our internationalism recognises our inter-relatedness on the continent and globally and
compels us to be in solidarity with the struggles of other people suffering from different
forms of oppression. In this regard, we have actively been involved in the following
countries in solidarity with workers and peoples struggles: Palestine, Swaziland,
Western Sahara, Cuba, Zimbabwe and Burma we reaffirm our policies, but draw
attention to the following:
Palestine – we reaffirm the centrality of the Global Boycott, Divestment and
Sanctions (BDS) Campaign as a critical pillar of our work and the Gaza Flotilla 11
currently attempting to break the siege on Gaza by Israel.
Swaziland – We reject any bailout of the Swazi regime without conditionalities linked
to the democratisation of the country, including the immediate release of all political
detainees and unbanning of political parties.
Burma – We support the call for a UN Commission of inquiry into human rights
violations in Burma, called by the UN Special Rapporteur as part of a decisive
commitment to the restoration of democracy in Burma.
Zimbabwe – We endorse the SADC Report on Zimbabwe and support the call by
Zimbabwean civil society for a genuine process towards free and fair elections.
Western Sahara – we urge the UN Security Council to ensure that the MINURSO
mission has a strong human rights component. In this regard, we condemn the EU,
France and Morocco in particular, who continue to uphold the illegal occupation of
Cuba – We must escalate the campaign for the release of the Cuban 5 comrades in
US jails and urge the effective coordination of the campaign nationally and
3. We also note the briefing we received on the catastrophic human rights crisis in
Kashmir and commit ourselves to explore how best we can support the struggle for
Kashmiri self-determination as enshrined in UN Resolution 47 of 21st April 1948.
4. We recognise the phenomenon of migration as a critical factor in the changing global
economy, owing to the uneven levels of development in the world, particularly on the
continent and commit ourselves to fighting xenophobia, promoting integration of the
working class from different countries and intensifying our call for regional integration
and balanced development on the continent.
5. We reaffirm COSATU’s resolution on the ICC. In this regard, the abuse of international
institutions for narrow political interests of a few powerful countries to target those
they regard as their enemies, must be brought to an end.
6. We condemn the increasing militarisation of Africa by imperialist forces as manifested
in the growing presence of foreign and other surrogate military forces to protect
imperialist interests and which threaten the security and development of the continent.
7. We must build various capacities at different levels of the federation to advance our
internationalism through active campaigns, coordination and different mobilisation
On building international working class power
1. The international trade union movement must be transformed to ensure capacity for
effective participation and mobilisation towards the renewal and intensification of the
global momentum for working class power.
2. We must build the political consciousness of the working class to challenge the
ideological hegemony of capital by exposing workers to alternative experiences and
successes to the destructive hegemony of neo-liberalism.
3. We must ensure an effective participation in the World Social Forum to ensure it acts as
a critical coordinator of popular alternatives for building working class momentum.
4. We must work with the SACP to advance a profoundly progressive and revolutionary
programme and momentum on the continent.
On building the systems, capacity and infrastructure to pursue our international
1. We must ensure that all affiliates have the internal capacity to coordinate and drive a
bold international programme in line with their specific sectors.
2. There is a critical need to convene an International Conference of COSATU before the
11th National Congress in order to undertake a thorough assessment of COSATU’s
international work, the capacity within affiliates and the federation, develop an
International Policy of the federation and finally, adopt a programme of action that
should take our international work to new heights. In this regard, the Conference shall
clearly formulate a recommendation on the federation’s international affiliation guided
by the policy perspectives of the federation.
3. The federation must build organisational and political capacity to coordinate and
support affiliates work at all levels. In this regard, the resourcing of the international
department must be taken up as a matter of priority.
4. COSATU must build its capacity to engage the state’s foreign policy and mobilise the
whole of society around the most critical issues at the international level.
5. COSATU must commission a study into the state of the revolutionary forces on the
African continent, their political orientation, their class composition and their
organisational strength, as well as their programmatic grounding and consistency.
The 5th COSATU Central Committee outline the following Programmatic considerations:
1. We need to finalise the draft COSATU Africa Trade Union Programme (CAFTUP) as
developed by the IRC, in readiness for the International Conference next year.
2. We call on the International Department of COSATU to do an audit of all international
solidarity structures and organisations we work with or in which we are involved to
ascertain the state of their organisational credentials, internal democracy,
accountability, transparency and periodic mandate renewal processes to ensure they
share our values and beliefs.
3. We should build dedicated capacity and support at the federation level in order to assist
unions on the continent by: encouraging and supporting mergers, building capacity to
bargain and organise, so as to ensure a strong mass base financially independence in
order to engage in national democratic struggles, and policy engagements.
4. We need to develop a comprehensive strategy for the effective coordination of union
work, solidarity, engagement and policy development at the international level, by
integrating technical work with campaigns on the ground for popular mobilisation.
5. Provinces are critical to the federation’s international work, particularly with
neighbouring countries and workers from those countries. In this regard, there are two
elements of Provincial engagement with international work:
a) Twinning of Provinces with the relevant countries guided by national office of the
b) Possible consideration of a Provincial International Relations Committee
6. Affiliates, with the help of the federation, need to consolidate resources in order to
maximise impact when providing solidarity in the same country. In this regard, we need
to track the work that affiliates are involved in across the continent.
7. We must build sectoral regional networks at affiliate level that promotes interaction and
close collaboration between COSATU affiliates and their sister unions in other countries.
8. Affiliates need to raise their levels of involvement in international solidarity and
9. We need a joint forum on international relations to serve as a political center of the
Alliance to synergise policy perspectives and campaigns of the Alliance on international