The Congress of South African Trade Unions held a successful meeting of its Central Executive Committee, which was attended by the representatives of all its affiliated unions and provincial structures. This is the statement that captures the initial decisions, but other issues and outcomes will be communicated going forward.
Organisation and campaigns: The CEC congratulated SACTWU, POPCRU, PAWUSA and SADTU for convening successful National Congresses. We also congratulate SASBO, SACCAWU and SACTWU who are growing from strength to strength. We are happy with positive developments at SATAWU, CEPPWAWU, SAMWU and SAMATU.
The CEC has also resolved to work with other federations to:
· Fight against retrenchments and demand job creation.
· Prioritize the campaign against executive pay.
· Campaign to gain control of workers’ pensions. This money should be invested to benefit workers without jeopardizing workers returns.
· Oppose the privatisation of Eskom and other key strategic SOEs.
· Demand a Forensic Audit of Eskom to investigate looting.
· Demand that Eskom renegotiates the prices with IPP’s or cut ties if there is no agreement.
· Demand that coal suppliers reduce the exorbitant prices they are imposing upon Eskom.
· Encourage those who can afford to pay for their electricity, especially government departments, municipalities and businesses. The state also needs to deal decisively with illegal connections.
· Push for the reduction of wasteful expenditure and bloated salaries of senior government leaders, political office bearers and SOE managers.
· To ensure that on the 4th Industrial Revolution, a just transition takes place and that workers and their communities are not left behind. We acknowledge the initial work that is being done through the Presidential Jobs and Investment Summits and their working teams and through the Presidential 4IR Commission.
· Strengthening our campaign against e-Tolls and demand that the government does not extend the E Tolls contract, which is expiring on the 1st of December. The focus should be on supporting the public transport system, especially the train system that is letting workers down daily.
Recruitment: We are happy that our recruitment campaign is yielding some positive results. The CEC has also acknowledged the applications from unions that want to join the federation. These applications will be subjected to normal processes informed by our principles of uniting the workers and reducing union fragmentation.
National Minimum Wage. We call on the National Minimum Wage Commission to urgently perform its annual review of National Minimum Wage. The Commission is required by the NMW Act to review the NMW and to ensure that it is protected from inflation etc. This increase should be implemented by January 2020 and these NMW commissioners should resign if they are unable to do their work. The Minister for Employment and Labour must intervene to ensure this happens.
Violence in the Mining sector: The CEC saluted and remembered Comrade Kaizer Madiba, an NUM member, who was killed on his way to work in Marikana at the beginning of the month. He was a key organiser for NUM and was central in efforts to bring peace and to rebuild the NUM in Marikana. We demand that the police arrest those behind the violence in Marikana. We also demand that the families who lost their loved ones but were not compensated are also compensated.
To build on our successful rally in Marikana, the CEC has resolved to host its 2020 Main May Day Rally in North West. Our programme of uniting workers in the mining sector continues and we demand that police do their job of arresting the perpetrators of violence.
Gender Based Violence: The meeting condemned the brutal murder of a young Limpopo student Precious Ramabulana and we send our condolences to her friends and family. The law enforcement agencies should act decisively against all perpetrators of gender-based violence and work with relevant stakeholders to fight violence in schools and communities. We support the 16 Days of Activism against abuse of women and children campaign.
Building the Economy and Job Creation: We are clear that the economic transformation process will continually present us with new challenges and new points of struggle. We continue to develop strategies which both engage the state and capital for the improvement of the material conditions of the poor majority.
COSATU remains committed to a social compact that involves labour, business and government but this should be conditional on an agreement on the overall growth and development framework, including the macroeconomic framework.
Job creation remains a central pillar of the ANC Manifesto, so any debate on fixing the economy should be accompanied by a coherent job creation strategy. COSATU will not accept any retrenchments in the public sector based on some vague promises about future growth and jobs.
We intend to work with Alliance partners to ensure that we build the capacity of the state and have a dynamic public sector capable of spearheading the necessary economic transformation.
The federation encourages workers to come out in their numbers to support the NHI Bill at Parliament’s public hearings. We are not going to allow the opponents of NHI to win and those who want to undermine it should be ready for a fight.
The Department of Employment and Labour must fast track the Compensation of Injury on Duty Amendment and the Occupational Health and Safety Amendment Bills. Workers are entitled to safe workplaces.
COSATU will intensify its campaign for Parliament to amend the Public Holidays Act to provide for non-trading holidays.
COSATU demands to see the government do the following:
· The urgent implementation by government and the private sector of their Jobs and Investment Summits commitments.
· Implementing the proposed export tax on scrap metal.
· Fast track the Public Procurement Bill.
· Ensure that companies that are granted spectrum have job creation targets and that workers have a stake in the spectrum
· We commend the conclusion of the Department of Trade and Industry’s sectoral master plans in areas such as poultry and clothing and textile leather. However, the successes of these master plans will depend on local procurement. The government must enforce local procurement in both the public and private sectors.
· National Treasury and the Reserve Bank needs to stop billions from being illicitly taken out of the country. We demand consequences from the implicated companies and individuals.
Private sector transformation: We commend President Cyril Ramaphosa for sharply raising the issue of lack of transformation in the private sector. We expect the government to act to ensure that transformation in the private sector happens. COSATU will work with other federations to confront the private sector to fight the ongoing retrenchments and exploitation of workers, corruption, collusion and cartel behaviour and lack of transformation.
State Owned Enterprises: The Auditor-General’s audit report on SOEs is deeply troubling. This represents an urgent crisis that needs urgent action from government. We demand consequences for those responsible.
The CEC condemned the leadership of both SAA. SA Express, SABC and Eskom for not involving unions in their restructuring plans and for targeting workers. COSATU supports the attempts to restructure state entities in order to improve corporate governance, accountability, efficiency and the execution of their public mandate.
We continue to reject privatisation that takes the resources of the country out of the hands of the people. The retrenchment of 900 workers at the ArcelorMittal plant in Saldanha Bay is a reminder of what reckless privatisation has done to people’s lives.
SOEs should be fixed so that they strengthen the capacity of the state and not become a burden on the state. Their role is to help drive government’s developmental agenda and central to this is the provision of affordable, good quality services to all South Africans.
The discussions around the SOEs and DFIs should be about building the Developmental State in a manner that encompasses them as part of a wider public sector that integrally and seamlessly works with the public service. SOEs and Development Finance Institutions should be properly aligned and reoriented in terms of the planned investment targets and development objectives.
We continue to campaign for new SOEs in key economic sectors such as minerals, telecommunications, petrochemical, banking, renewable energy, etc
We also reiterate our support for the expropriation of land for the landless, those in informal areas and farm workers. COSATU remains firm in its support for the amendment of Section 25 of the Constitution and the Expropriation Act.
COSATU reiterates its position that agencies that are performing line functions of public service departments, such as SASSA, need to be redirected and reabsorbed back to the public service. This will strengthen the capacity of the public service and will also reduce costs.
The Federation is supportive of a development approach that explores strategic partnerships with the private sector. We approach this not from the assumption that the private sector is more efficient than the public sector but with the understanding that overcoming poverty and creating jobs cannot be the sole responsibility of an overburdened state.
In all of this, we shall continue to ensure that any agreement or consensus does not punish the working class and that the commanding heights of the economy remain under state control, as per the Freedom Charter.
Corruption: The meeting noted and welcomed the Hawks and NPA’s decision to charge some individuals who are implicated in corruption. We also demand action against private sector corruption, starting with those who were involved in the Steinhoff corruption. We reiterate our call for law enforcement entities to act against those who are implicated in the VBS scandal and in political killings.
Politics: The CEC noted and welcomed the progress that has been made in the Alliance reconfiguration proposals around the minimum programme of the Freedom Charter. It is now encouraging that now we have a situation where all Alliance partners totally agree on the need for a fundamental change in the nature of the Alliance.
This reconfiguration is important if the Alliance is to strengthen its capacity to unite and spearhead the struggles of the broader masses of our people, of which the working class is the primary motive force.
COSATU wants the monitoring and evaluation section of the document strengthened so that the Alliance has mechanism to hold its political deployees accountable. The Federation wants the Manifesto to be the guiding document for all those who are in government. We commend the Alliance Political Council for committing to a consensus-driven approach to broader economic policy formulation.
We also, demand that going forward the Alliance needs to ensure that we deploy ethical leadership in all layers of government. If the Alliance is to succeed in leading society, we cannot allow tainted individuals to continue representing the ANC.
Political killings and the buying of conference delegates remains a huge problem that must be confronted at all levels of the movement.
The CEC wishes the SACP well in its upcoming Special National Congress. We look forward to hearing from the vanguard of the working class about concrete proposals on how to not just transform the economy but to lay a foundation for socialism.
Internationally: We shall assess and intensify our efforts to show practical solidarity to the workers of eSwatini, Zimbabwe, Western Sahara, Cuba, Palestine, Bolivia, Brazil and Venezuela.
We shall reprioritize building a strong Africa trade union movement.
The meeting also committed itself to fostering the unity of African trade union movement and enhancing solidarity with all workers and migrants.
We shall work to influence the formalisation of labour migration policies in the country of origin and country of destination.
We also commit to taking forward the WFTU Campaign against neoliberalism, fascism and racism.
The CEC shall implement its resolution to send the delegation to Palestine.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794