COSATU Post May Day Statement

 The Congress of South African Trade Unions salutes and congratulate the thousands of workers, who took time this past Sunday to participate in our nationwide May Day celebrations. Thousands of workers participated in our May Day events all across the country.

This is quite laudable considering that this worker’s holiday took place over a long weekend that coincided with a month end. Most workers who are victims of a migrant labour system left the big cities to visit their families in other provinces and rural areas. Many of our May Day events were characterized by discipline and a celebratory atmosphere.

 The Federation remembers the victims of the Bethlehem bus crash that killed 53 workers on their way to QwaQwa on the 1st of May 2003. We will never forget those workers and every May Day remains a sad reminder of that tragedy.

 We thank our affiliates for mobilising workers and providing transport for them. We send our message of solidarity to the people of KwaZulu-Natal who are still recovering from last month’s devastating floods.

 We salute our affiliated unions and ordinary members who donated everything from blankets, food, school shoes, etc. We urge then to continue to show this spirit of charity, solidarity, and selflessness. An injury to one is an injury to all!

 The Federation has noted the regrettable disruptions that happened in our main rally at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, Rustenburg in the North-West Province. This was, without a doubt, a regrettable and an unacceptable incident that prevented our invited Alliance guests from addressing the rally. This matter will receive adequate attention in our upcoming Central Executive Committee meeting at this end of this month.

 It has to be noted, though, that some of what transpired in North- West, to a certain extent, reflects the growing frustration among workers in South Africa. Historically Workers’ Day is day where workers reflect on their struggles and push for change.This is a message that the ANC cannot claim to misunderstand and that cannot be ignored anymore. The Marxist revolutionary and political theorist Leon Trotsky once said; “The party that leans upon the workers but serves the bourgeoisie, in the period of the greatest sharpening of the class struggle, cannot but sense the smells wafted from the waiting grave”. The ANC has been warned.

Workers have every reason to be livid when 2.2 million of them have lost their jobs in the last two years. It was provocative of government to pickpocket public servants of their salary increases in 2020. Workers have lost jobs from State-Owned Companies looted by senior politicians in collusion with the private sector.

 Mine workers are correct to be aggrieved when a CEO of Sibanye who benefited from corporate tax cuts refuses to pay them an additional R1000 a month, while at the time paying himself R300 million in a single year. 

 The fact that we are the most unequal country in the world is a sign that South Africa is slowly sinking in the abyss. A 46% real unemployment, stagnant wages and budget cuts have all exhausted the patience of South African workers.

 We hope that the Rustenburg disruptions will jolt the ANC and its government into action. This threatens the coherence and the legitimacy of the Alliance in the eyes of the working class. There is an urgent need to address and revive the worker’s confidence in the sixth administration. This administration needs to prove that it possesses the capacity to deliver on the 2019 ANC Elections Manifesto commitments.

 We salute the unity that has been shown by workers at Sibanye and remind them that the only way to dismantle the system of power is through unity and cooperation. If workers sit down and do nothing, it will mean that they accept the death sentence that is being handed to them by the political and business power structure.

 Issued by COSATU.

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911

Fax: 011 339 5080

Cell: 060 975 6794