The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) convened its one-day Provincial Executive Committee meeting on Friday, 09 December 2022. The meeting was attended by affiliated unions and the federation’s structures at provincial level.

The meeting took time to reflect on the important fight against Gender Based Violence, especially considering that our meeting took place during the National 16 Days of Activism and immediately after the World Aids Day that was on the 1st of December. The meeting was impressed about the work done by our Gender structure to visit the centre for gender-based-violence victims and for working with our unions on the program of the World AIDS day.

The province celebrated the federation’s 37th Anniversary through a memorial lecture on the 9th of December 2022 delivered by the COSATU Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Gerald Thwala. The 37th Anniversary of COSATU was dedicated to the 1973 Durban Strike as part of mobilizing for the 50th Anniversary of the 1973 strikes. The 37th Anniversary was also celebrated through successful games that were held at the Curries Fountain.

The PEC spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on federation’s programme of action that will be guided by our 14th National Congress theme of; “Build Working Class Unity for Economic Liberation towards Socialism”.

Organizationally,the meeting resolved that we must take seriously the task of growing the federation’s membership. The PEC instructed us to continue to use the provincial shop steward councils and town-based mass meetings to communicate with members and use the same platforms for campaigns and recruitment of new membership.We intend to capacitate our structures and work with our unions to ensure that they have effective branches that deliver quality services to our members, and they continue to be majority unions in their respective bargaining councils.

On May Day 2023, the meeting resolved that our provincial celebrations would take place at eSikhaleni.

On bargaining matters and campaigns, the meeting acknowledged the support given to public sector unions during their campaign for in defence of collective bargaining. It further issued a warning against Massmart, Transnet and Buffalo Coal Mine for their relentless subjugation and violation of workers’ rights.  The federation remains deeply committed to leading the fight against those who attack and undermine collective bargaining.

Politically, the meeting was unambiguous in its insistence that the unity of the alliance as a collective as well as its individual components is paramount if we are to achieve our objectives going forward. We need collective programmes of the alliance and our role as the provincial structure is to ensure that the federation of Elijah Barayi remains intact.

The PEC noted and appreciated the ongoing the debate on the SACP contesting State Power. This is critical because while there appears to be a basic unanimity on the need for a more radical second phase of our democratic transition. It is also clear that this consensus is on the surface and relates only to intensions and objectives rather than the actual practical content of what this means.

The working class has no choice but to take the lead and ensure that it is not overtaken by other class forces in shaping the future of the Alliance and the country. We cannot escape the burden of building working class power in the workplace, in communities and all sites of power.

We also noted the forthcoming Conference of the African National Congress.  We agree with our CEC that the federation must prepare itself for policy discussions and help the ANC to unite behind a solid programme of fixing the country’s socioeconomic challenges.

On Socio-economic, the federation in the province is concerned about what looks like a deal between government, TRANSNET, and monopoly capital to sell the Durban port to the highest bidder.

The portion of the Port that is being privatized is the one that is most productive for TRANSNET. We are also concerned over the fact that there is no transformation plan, such as BBBEE encompassing this move to sell TRANSNET. According to the plan, this deal will be signed during the holiday of 16 December 2022.

COSATU demands answers about this blanket and clandestine privatization of our strategic assets. We intend to work with SATAWU along with other unions organizing at the port to oppose this move. We vehemently reject this move by government and business interests that is hellbent on reversing the gains of workers, and to turn all our public institutions, and key sites of our economy into cash cows for the private sector.

The meeting also discussed the deteriorating safety of our roads, as we enter the festive season. The recent accident in Pongolo and the current situation affecting residents who live along R66/R34 dominated by the freight industry is unsustainable

COSATU wants a road safety program directed to all road users, and the communities along those roads. The program is to be named as operation “Cabangela Abanye” to highlight the need for all road users to be responsible on the road and take care of other road users.

The PEC also raised concerns on the conditions of our people who were victims of the 2022 floods and were displaced into community halls and churches. We are deeply concerned because these people have not been allocated proper houses. We however, very optimistic and appreciate the new zeal by the Provincial government to relocate this community to decent temporary structures.

The concern arose from the fact that we now are dealing with another wet and rainy summer, yet the problems of the last summer remain unresolved. This is totally unacceptable and the COSATU PEC has resolved to work closely with communities and government to provide support to these floods’ victims.

Lastly, we wish all our members, the workers, and the people of KwaZulu Natal a happy festive season.

Issued by COSATU KZN Province For more information
Edwin Mkhize
082 399 7756 / 076 522 8839