COSATU Free State PEC statement

The Provincial Executive Committee meeting was convened on the eve of the 36th Anniversary of the Federation. The meeting acknowledged that we have achieved a lot during our 36 years of existence and because of the dynamic, and constantly changing environment there remains even more work to be done. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “when one reaches the top of the hill, only then does one find out that there are more hills to climb”. 

 We wish our Federation well and we commit to working towards the attainment of the aims and objectives of the Federation through the application of its founding principles. The meeting was graced by the presence of COSATU 2nd Deputy President Comrade Lousah Thipe who made a very moving and informative political input. The meeting benefitted well from her wealth of knowledge and guidance throughout the discussions in the meeting. 

16 Days of activism campaign 

Our meeting took place whilst the campaign against gender-based violence is underway. We hereby declare our unwavering support for the campaign, and we pledge to do everything in our power to eradicate this scourge. We are gravely concerned about the incidents of GBV which seems to peak during this period, and we get reports of some of the most gruesome activities taking place during the period of the campaign. We believe that the focus of the campaign should be more on the people who have statistically been shown as the key perpetrators going forward. 

We support the national theme of the campaign which seeks to move the mindset of the country from awareness to accountability. We understand that to mean that we should be activists against gender-based violence and to take steps to curb such wherever it rears its ugly head. The PEC committed to engaging in programs that would ensure that we not only get involved in campaigns but that we also confront people we may know and those close to us who engage in GBV. 

We urge all members of the Federation in the Province and the community, in general, to speak out against GBV and to act when such come to their attention. We also call upon our members and the community, in general, to treat the victims with empathy and to allow the law to take its course. 

Covid-19 pandemic 

We welcome the progress made with vaccination and we support the campaign to encourage workers and community members to voluntarily show up at vaccination sites to take the jab.  

We condemn the racist approach adopted by countries that have banned travel to and from Southern African Countries just by the mere pronouncement of the new variant – Omicron. This smacks of similar characteristics like the proverbial ‘swaart gevaar’ which was utilized to side-line black people during the apartheid era. 

We call on the workers and the community to always observe covid protocols to reduce the chances of the spread of the pandemic. 

Festive season 

The PEC noted that the province is entering the festive season after an extended period of lockdown and restrictions of movements. As we spend our hard-earned bonuses we should do so wisely and prioritise locally produced goods and services to create jobs within our country. Buying imported goods throttle and kill local production/economy and jobs and hence the very astronomical unemployment figures. 

Enjoying responsibly throughout the festive season to reduce road accidents and fatalities. To reduce the chances of injuries inflicted to each other resulting in trauma and the filling of emergency rooms in hospitals. These incidents leave dependents in a very bad situation which to certain extent fuels the anomalies in our societies. 

State-Owned Entities 

The PEC is very disappointed about the approach adopted by the ANC-led government towards the state-owned entities. Many of these entities have been left in limbo due to a lack of leadership like MAP Water which has had neither a board of directors nor management for more than five years now. Some have been run down through corruption and looting and some seem to be deliberately throttled to make way for the private sector to take over. 

The PEC took decision to do everything in its power to ensure that the state entities remain in the hands of the public and stand opposed to every move to privatize Telkom, South African Post Office, Sentech, Eskom, etc. The government should put in place measures that should ensure the path of the viability of these state institutions and protect these entities from the looters! We believe these entities are better placed to enhance the state capacity to provide services to the communities and to ultimately generate much-needed income for the national fiscus. 

The ANC government should implement oversight over the state-owned entities and put to a halt the current situation where these entities are on autopilot. 

Provincial Congress and Provincial Gender Conference 

The PEC has in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federation duly convene the first-ever constitutionally backed Provincial Gender Conference on 02 February 2022 which will be held back-to-back with the Provincial Congress on 03-04 February 2022 in Kroonstad Town Hall. 

The two constitutional gatherings would be seized with the task of protecting the jobs of our members and coming up with strategies that will seek to put the province on the path to economic growth as an apex priority. This is against the worsening economic situation in our province. 

Humanitarian aid to Cuba 

The PEC noted the sacrifices that were made by the Cubans in aiding us to attain our freedom and believe that we are duty-bound to assist the Cubans when they undergo a man-made crisis resulting from the embargo. We would be putting together some form of aid as workers to assist our comrades on the other side of the globe to get through, despite the harshness of the embargo. The PEC has directed that the province should put together the necessities for shipment to the Cubans at the conclusion of our 5th Provincial Congress. 

Local Government elections 

The PEC is disappointed but not shocked by the outcome of the recent local government elections where the ANC barely made it through the 50% mark. The movement was aware of the challenges it was facing which included the well-orchestrated attack on collective bargaining led by the state and no remedial actions or interventions were put in place by the movement. 

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the workers who got involved in the elections campaign to ensure ANC victory despite the challenges and setbacks. We are convinced that supporting the ANC in the recent local government elections remains a revolutionary duty for the Federation. 

We acknowledge that we were given a chance to participate in the process of identifying ANC deployees into Local Government and we managed to influence in some cases, but we could not succeed in others. The very deployees would be representing our employers on the other hand and as workers, we will engage with those in office for the sake of our members and for service delivery to our communities at large. 

Issued by COSATU Free State 

Enquiries Provincial Secretary Monyatso oa Mahlatsi @ 051 447 5499 or 076 115 992