COSATU Message of Support – ANC 111th Anniversary

Programme Director

The President of the ANC, cde. Cyril Ramaphosa,

National Office Bearers of the ANC, SACP and COSATU,

Leadership and members of the movement at all levels, comrades and friends,

It is an honour to celebrate the 111th anniversary of the liberation movement, the African National Congress.  We are indebted to the foresight of that generation who came together to seek a path to transform South Africa into a home for all who live in it, irrespective of race, gender or religion.

We laud the proud history of the ANC, the battles it waged, the generations of heroes and heroines it produced and the painful sacrifices countless suffered.  The constitutional democracy we enjoy today, can be traced directly to that momentous occasion here in Mangaung more than a century ago.

We commend the many achievements that we have made under the leadership of the ANC, from our constitutional democracy to our progressive labour laws, from the rolling out of basic services to those who previously had none, to a national minimum wage for workers who were paid little more than a slave wage, from the management of the Covid-pandemic, to the release of R64 billion from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to cushion 5.7 million workers and the SRD Grant helping 10 million unemployed.

Whilst we welcome our many achievements, we cannot afford to be complacent or arrogant as workers to survive the many crises crippling our nation.

The 55th Congress of the ANC as well as the SACP and COSATU’s congresses have concluded.  The mandates of members, workers and the public is clear.

Workers are tired of the factionalism and corruption dividing the movement and that many leaders are guilty of.  Mr. President and the entire ANC leadership, workers were clear in the 2021 local elections.  They have put the entire movement on notice. 

Dismantle the factions, remove incompetent deployees, unite the ANC and rebuild its structures.  We are deeply worried that whilst workers support the step aside resolution, it appears that we are backtracking on it.  We cannot compromise on matters of principle and the rule of law. 

Those who have been charged and convicted for criminal offences must step aside.  We cannot have leaders with criminal convictions and expect society to take us seriously.  If we are to rebuild the state, then we need a sane, credible and clean ANC.

Comrade President you correctly endorsed the call of COSATU and the SACP for the reconfiguration of the Alliance.  We look forward to engaging on the implementation of this commitment.  We need a united Alliance if to turn the nation around.

We are facing are our greatest challenges since 1994, at the heart of addressing these, is fixing the state.  The inability of countless municipalities to provide basic services is causing many companies to close further impoverishing their communities yet we see being little being done by COGTA and SALGA to resolve these.

We cannot accept losing billions to corruption across the state including at the UIF.  Workers are angry that when they blow the whistle on corruption in Vhembe, Gauteng and here in Bloemfontein, they are assassinated, and no one is brought to justice.

Workers are tired of politicians making promises about ending load shedding or protecting and rebuilding our passenger and freight rail.  We need action and results. 

Covid-19 has shown the need for a well-oiled state machinery and the dangers of crippling the state of through reckless ill-considered budget cuts.  SARS has proven the value of investing in the state.

Workers have a lot invested in the ANC.  It is not an accident of history that COSATU and our predecessors have been part of the Alliance.  But workers expect more from the ANC and the government they have elected to office.

Public servants expect government to respect collective bargaining and honour their wage agreements.  Municipal workers deserve to see their salaries paid on time.  ANC employees should not have to beg to see their pension contributions honoured.

Whilst society praised private and public sector workers for the essential services they provided during Covid-19, workers are asking why are is the ANC and government quiet when their rights are being abused?  Workers expect government to act when Makro workers are victimized for being members of SACCAWU.

Workers dependent upon the National Minimum Wage, expect government to take action against a staggering 45% of employers found to be ignoring the law.

We need Treasury and Parliament to expedite the Amendment Bill allowing financially workers limited access to their pension funds by October 2023. 

We need to ensure the Just Energy Transition does not send workers to the unemployment queue or increase our already dangerously high debt levels.

Government needs to stimulate the economy, slash unemployment, including expanding the Presidential Employment Programme to accommodate at least 2 million participants and enhance the SRD Grant. 

The ANC is on notice.  We face our most difficult elections in 2024.  The challenges facing workers and society are massive.

The ANC needs to get its act together to win the elections.  Continue with factions and corruption, an economy limping from loadshedding, rising fuel prices and a 43% unemployment rate, and we will struggle to convince workers to vote for the ANC.

The solutions are in our hands.  We need decisive leadership.  We dare not fail the nation.  COSATU will continue to be a critical ally and will remain the voice of workers.  We will walk this journey with you but will not hesitate to expose those who fail.  Matla!