COSATU statement on the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the assassination of Comrade Chris Hani

The Congress of South African Trade Unions joins South Africans to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the assassination of late South African Communist Party (SACP) leader and Alliance stalwart Comrade Chris Hani. The ANC stalwart, SACP leader, and Umkhonto we Sizwe pioneer was shot and killed on the 10th of April 1993 by Polish immigrant Janusz Walus working with Clive Derby-Lewis.

He remains a symbol of resistance, determination, and hope for a better world. We are commemorating Cde Chris Hani amid an economic crisis that confirms and validates his belief and conviction that capitalism is not the solution.

Unemployment is at an unbearable 43% and workers are battling to afford necessities and take care of their families because of galloping fuel prices, interest rates, and inflation. 

The capitalist crisis has persisted over most of the last decade with the harshest impact located in areas of deep concern to the people’s livelihoods. While many capitalist economists continue to disseminate false theories regarding the economic crisis, the reality is that this crisis is borne out of the irreconcilable contradiction between the social character of production and private appropriation by a few individuals of all the wealth.

All attempt to revitalise the capitalist economy, within the neoliberal framework of cutbacks has only induced new and bigger rounds of crisis.

Since the dissipation of COVID-19, predictably, the capitalist class has been scrambling to claw back its rate of profitability at the expense of the working class. We witness cuts in social spending and increasing privatisation of basic services such as health, education, water, and electricity.

This is why in this unpredictable and uncertain period; we need to summon from the grave the spirit of Cde Chris Hani as we mobilise workers and poor communities to fight against the cost-of-living crisis. It is necessary to revive the global internationalist working-class movement and push for leading cadres of progressive political formations to establish and solidify a socialist theory of an alternative world economy to stand up to the free market.

The real challenge facing South Africa is how to dismantle the unchecked corporate power and greed that has seen massive wealth being funnelled upwards into the hands of a tiny minority.

We need to confront and undo policies that abolished the regulations that once protected the citizenry from the worst forms of monopoly exploitation. The demolishing of proper regulations made possible the largest upwards transference of wealth in this country’s history. Removing capital controls under the government of National Unity led to the situation where today R80 billion is taken out of the country every year by the private sector.

History has taught us one thing capitalism is an enemy that can never be appeased.  The Czech-Austrian philosopher and Marxist Theoretician Karl Kautsky captured this better when he said, “As things stand today capitalist civilization cannot continue; we must either move forward into socialism or fall back into barbarism.”

Capitalism can only continue to maintain itself only by lowering the standard of living of the working class.

Unless we have a Basic Income grant pitched at the food poverty level; unless the country has access to universal health care, unless the crippling debts that are draining the bank accounts of South African families are reduced or forgiven; unless there is an unassailable moratorium on retrenchments; and unless companies in this country are forced to pay decent wages, abide by strict labour laws, the dream and aspirations of Cde Chris Hani and other martyrs will not be realised. 

To realise these aspirations, we should demand the rebuilding of a capable developmental state and State Owned Enterprises and a budget that is biased towards the working class and rural poor. 

COSATU reaffirms its commitment to strive to unite all workers in the struggle against poverty and exploitation, for safe working conditions, decent and quality jobs, comprehensive social security, and comprehensive social services.

It is important that we ensure that the life of Cde Chris Hani is honoured in deeds and not words. We should work to transform our economy and uproot institutional racism as part of history lessons about his life.

We also remain deeply committed to strengthening ties and cooperation between COSATU and the SACP and ensuring that the two organisations implement joint programs and campaigns which include calling for the inquest into Chris Hani’s assassination, Financial Sector Coalition Campaign, and confronting the continued retrenchments. We equally recommit ourselves to the radical reconfiguration of the Alliance to ensure that it once again becomes the centre of progressive change and a beacon of hope for the dispossessed. 

Long Live the Spirit of Chris Hani!

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794