Declaration of the 6th National Congress of the Communication Workers Union

We, the 139 delegates to the 6th National Congress of the Communication Worker’s representing thousands of workers in the Information Technology and Communication (ITC) industry, emerging from workplaces in every sector of the Information and Technology Industry, from the rural areas, in the forts, big and small cities, townships, raising from the shores of our beautiful sea coasts, crossing small and large rivers, the mountains and valleys; we are gathered here in Bela Bela at Communication Workers Union`s 6th National Congress, speaking with one unified voice. We call on our members and all working people to support this clarion Call for Action in defence of working people and the working class in general here in South Africa and abroad. We gathered here in Bela-Bela, Limpopo under the theme, “Strengthen Communication Workers Union (CWU) to build a working-class hegemony in the 4th Industrial Revolution,” in challenging the brutality and the onslaught on workers by our class enemy and further advance our working-class programs.

The congress acknowledges that CWU, as a strategic revolutionary propagandist machinery and the only reliable voice of workers, the poor and the downtrodden in the ICT Industry; their organisation has listened. As we move towards the 4th Industrial Revolution having confounded many predictions that we will devour our own labour movement when we reject elements of the state capture.

As we gather here, we take cognisance of the fact that our 6th National Congress takes place after the historical National Conference of the Federation that elected the first female President and the watershed conference of the African National Congress held in NASREC, December 2017, that resolved on the land question and fast-tracking the economical transformation. However, this Congress takes place under the cloud of worsening conditions for the working class in our country, and in the world with capitalism facing a deepening crisis and yet its leading organisations are not being liquidated out of power. Instead, the left forces are losing their coherency and continue to fight as a divided force.

The country is facing serious challenges, we must not sink into despair and feel that there is nothing we can do. The recent developments here at home and globally indicates the crumbling state of the economy, the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor, the high rate of unemployment in the developing countries and here at home in particular. These are a signal that Capitalism has failed. The election of the ultra-right and a nationalist President in the USA, is an indication that in general; the working class is under siege and seeking for an alternative as opposed to a much-praised unworkable capitalist system. This is an indication to us that the time is now for proletariat dictatorship, using the National Democratic Resolution as a campus to navigate our path to that final logical conclusion – African Socialism. These developments 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.

On the international front, the 6th National Congress says:

We must continue to strengthen solidarity relations with the Cuban Revolution in all its forms. Amongst others, we must work to strengthen these relations at both trade union and federations levels. We condemn a continued action by the imperialist to destroy the economic, political and social system that has been freely chosen by the Cuban’s as a nation.

Our support is with the people of Venezuela who expressed their self-determination in the recent successful National Elections. In support of the Palestine people we call for the South African government to derecognise the Israel Embassy and to downgrade the South African Embassy in that land. We stand side by side with the people of Swaziland on their struggle against Tinkundla.

As Communication Workers Union; we are fully aware of these challenges at the industrial level:

  • The attempts by petty Bourgeois’ to liquidate Telkom and invest off shores to the benefits of foreign investments.
  • The attempts to privatise South African Post Office in the name of realigning the State Owned Entity – to the benefit of a few in the elite’s circles at the expense of the poor.
  • A well-orchestrated political influence to shift South African Broadcasting Corporation from its mandate and eventually commercialise the Public Broadcaster. We believe that a new funding model of the Public Broadcaster as expressed in our resolution, to save our SABC in the interest of the National heritage, literature, arts and culture is vital.
  • The stubbornness of the Mobile giants to reduce mobile cost and data cost. We therefore call for the leasing of the spectrum to capacitate the state and the public to determine the prizes of communication both on voice and data.
  • The reintroduction of labour brokers through outsourcing processes abusing the Section 197 as a tool to exploit workers. Therefore, the 6th National Congress call for the amendment of the Act to make it difficult for exploiters to undermine.

The Congress call for war against the abuse of women and children, and call for harsh sentences against perpetrators of such crimes. We further call for an intense programme of gender equality and to fight discrimination of people living with disabilities including albinism.

We re-affirm our call of the re-configuration of the alliance as part of the strategical interventions to advance a radical economic shift, including specific commitments to align macro-economic policies on all institutions of State, to the agenda of promoting decent work, and interventions to drastically scale up the State’s role in strategic sectors of the society. The re-configuration of the alliance must not be in the interest of advancing the working class program.

As we intensify our hegemony in the 4th Industrial Revolution, we call for inclusive engagements that will involve civil society, labour, government and business. As CWU, we need to move with the necessary speed to call for an inclusive discussion (Indaba) on the Public Broadcaster and Conversational Commercial Broadcaster, Community Broadcasters, Over The Top and other key stakeholders to engage on a new funding model of the Public Broadcaster.

Communication Workers Union emerges from this 6th National Congress stronger and more united than ever. This Workers Parliament has collectively elected its National Office Bearers for the next three years. We pledge our support to the newly elected National leadership collective and trust them to decisively implement this radical programme of action we have agreed on over the past 4 days.