COSATU response to the ANC January 08 message

The Congress of South African Trade Unions noted and welcomed the African National Congress (ANC) NEC January 08 message as delivered by ANC President Cde Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa in Kimberley yesterday. We hope that this message will seep through to all members and leaders of the organisation at all levels and that they will embrace it and move with speed to implement it.

The upcoming ANC and Cabinet Lekgotlas should give practical meaning to this message and ensure that all levels of government and the relevant state institutions clearly understand their role in accelerating transformation. 

We agree that the ANC needs to go back to its roots as a mass-based organisation with the intention not just to unite all social classes and national groups but to also imbue them with confidence in their own ability and strength.

To arrest its observable decline of the last decade, the ANC needs to practically disprove the belief that it is not genuine about pursuing the national democratic tasks on behalf of the people and that it has lost its vocation for greatness.

We are happy to note that this message seems to have been influenced by the Freedom Charter. This iconic document remains the definitive expression of the goals of our revolution. The ANC and its government need to prove that they have the will and to ensure the realisation of the revolutionary programme of the Freedom Charter.

The Freedom Charter strikes at the entire system of exploitation in South Africa. It has a deep-going-anti monopoly content that makes no allowance at all for a reform of the current dominant socio-economic structures. 

It is also commendable that, at least, at an organisational level the ANC seems to share COSATU’s critique of capitalist development, but we now want the organisation to move a step further and ensure that it adopts an anti-capitalist alternative development.

In the light of the quarterly trends of 2019, we remain concerned that unless something dramatic is done to kickstart the economy the current economic stagnation is likely to get worse. 

Over the last four years, we have seen hundreds of thousands of jobs disappearing and there is an urgent need to put this economy back onto the growth trajectory. COSATU reiterates its demand for the ANC to adopt a mixed economy combining private ownership and a strong state ownership of the strategic means of production.

The commitment not to privatise the power utility Eskom is welcomed but it should be accompanied by a commitment to preserve jobs. In fixing the SOEs and improving and building the capacity of the state, the ANC needs to focus on improving corporate governance, accountability, efficiency and the execution of the public mandate.

All state institutions and those leading them should be judged on their contribution to raising the quality of people’s lives, while managing our limited resources responsibly and nothing else. COSATU wants the ANC and its government to wield a big axe on corrupt and incompetent political deployees without fear or favour.

This year we demand to see our prisons bursting at the seams with corrupt individuals and their enablers. They all need to be locked up behind bars. As a country, we also need to take drastic steps to protect whistle-blowers and their families if we are to win the fight against corruption.

Many people have been killed for reporting criminal acts and yet the state has is still doing little to protect the whistle-blowers and their dependants. A good example is the killing of Comrade Moss Phakoe in North West and the attempted murder of Cde Thabiso Zulu in uMzimkhulu, KZN. The Federation reiterates its call for those who killed SAMWU members in Limpopo over the VBS scandal to be apprehended and prosecuted. The ongoing political killings and the phenomenon of hired political assassins needs to be resolved before we become a Mafia state.

The NPA, Hawks, SIU, AFU and other law enforcement agencies need to earn their keep and prosecute corrupt criminals this year. There is too much information that is available already and these institutions need to be decisive. They need to pursue both the those from the public and the private sector.

We also remain positive about the progress that is being made to ensure that the Alliance acts as a political centre with all Alliance partners driving transformation jointly, whilst recognising the leadership role of the ANC.

The Federation believes that the Alliance should drive transformation, with tighter coordination of Alliance programmes. Our collective challenge is to achieve this while avoiding polemics that would not help conclude this discussion. COSATU wants the year 2020 to be a year where drastic steps are taken to make sure that the alliance is both reconfigured and strengthened.

Lastly, we hope that this ANC NEC message will influence both the State of the Nation Address and the Budget Speech to prove that the ANC is the centre of power.

We are happy that the ANC maintains a progressive anti-imperialist posture and hope that this will be reflected in our government’s independent foreign policy.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794