The Revolutionary Alliance comprising the African National Congress (ANC), South African Communist Party (SACP), Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) held a virtual meeting of Secretaries on 12 April 2020. The purpose of the Alliance Secretariat meeting was to take stock of the current situation since the declaration of the national lockdown. Principally, the Alliance Secretariat reflected on the operationalisation of these national regulations by both the provincial and local spheres of government in the Western Cape.
Since the president declared the national state of disaster, all alliance components and respective constituencies in the province heeded the call to stay at home unless one is part of the essential service.
We note that communities continue to observe this call responsibly despite challenging socio-economic factors that inform the daily activities of the broader working class in the Western Cape. We are acutely aware that our province has the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases (546) and deaths (7). We are gravely concerned that the proportion of cases relative to the population of the province is high and therefore aggressive measures to contain the spread and fatalities are required. It is against this background that enforcement of compliance with regulations must be heightened.
Essentials service workers are heroes and heroines of our country
The ANC, SACP, COSATU and SANCO applaud all essentials service workers who are at the front-line (the nurses, doctors, police, traffic and the soldier) of this battle against the deadly COVID-19. It must be clear to all that their commitment, dedication and hard-working is an expression of patriotism.
Against this background, the alliance calls on government to see to it that proper personal protective equipment and all other preventative measures are made available. The alliance says ‘ Yes for essential service but Safety of the workers first’ Like the Cuban doctors in Italy and other countries who said “We are afraid but we have a revolutionary duty to fulfil, so we take out fear and put it aside”
No federalisation of the Western Cape
The alliance condemns some of the actions of the Western Cape government as led by Premier Alan Winde by attempting to federalise the province. At first it was the issue of cigarettes, now it is school nutrition or and poor traffic control on the road hence the traffic jam on the R61 to the Eastern Cape.
Against this background, the alliance hold a strong view that Premier Alan Winde is not fit to lead this province. We call on the national government to send a strong team of National Ministers to reinforce implementation of national regulations.
We re-affirm the positions expressed by Alliance components, severally, condemning the reopening of schools under the pretext of the school feeding programme with the strongest terms possible. The danger with this ill-thought idea will subject the children of the working to unnecessary infection.
It is this context that the alliance support the opening of a criminal case by COSAS against the MEC for Education for violating regulations as it will expose and endanger the lives of learners. Further, the alliance calls on all parents in the province not to allow their children to be endangered by reckless MEC for Education.
The Alliance condemns the attitude of the City of Cape Town towards the poor people, further call on the City to stop harassing the working class through evictions.
The Alliance reiterated its position against the inhumane treatment of the foreign nationals and the homeless people, in particular, the decisions to build concentration camps instead of using many public facilities that can be conducive for human beings.
Employers must apply for the UIF for the benefit of the workers and no to retrenchments and lay-offs
The alliance warmly welcomed the intervention by the National government for making the UIF monies available to caution the vulnerable section of the workers during this period of the national lock-down. It is in this context that the provincial alliance call on the employers not to shift the blame of the emergence of the Coronavirus to the workers. All employers must use the funds allocated by the government to pay workers. Further, the alliance condemn those who forced workers to take forced annual leave in this critical moment.
Furthermore, the alliance calls on employers across the sectors of our economy in the province to desist from threatening workers with retrenchments or lay-off. Workers are not responsible for this pandemic.
Lastly, farm owners are warned to respect the national regulations and stop risking the lives of farmworkers by loading them in an overloaded truck. In this context, we call on the Department of Employment and Labour or Department of Transport to issue clear guidelines on the issue of transportation of workers and that inspectors must be on the ground working.
No to criminality, hooliganism and Police brutality
The Alliance has noted with deep concern the acts of criminality and hooliganism in some communities. We call on all our people in these communities to expose criminals who break in liquor stores. The alliance supports the ban of liquor during this period of lockdown.
The alliance, further, warns against those who have sought to indulge on the home made beers because the call to ban liquor is a scientific call to strengthen our immune systems. Further, we reject calls by some section of our society for reopening liquor sales.
Also the alliance urges the people of the Western Cape to support all our law enforcement who are out in our communities to enforce the regulations. No one must provoke any forces of law enforcement.
However, we condemn with the strongest terms possible the acts of brutality by law enforcement agency. We call on the people to report any form of police brutality to the relevant authorities.
Issued by: Tripartite Alliance Western Cape
Ronalda Nalumango: ANC Interim Provincial Coordinator
Mobile: 079 631 6038
Benson Ngqentsu: SACP Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 082 796 6400
Malvern de Bruyn- COSATU Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 060 977 9027
Teboho Majela: SANCO Provincial Secretary
Mobile: 072 216 5243