The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) joins millions of Africans on the continent, and in the diaspora, as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Africa Day. The celebration of Africa Month and Africa Day provides an opportunity to promote African unity, deeper regional integration, and recommit to a common destiny.
The Federation believes that once the people of the continent unite, the rest of the world will have no choice but to sit up and take notice. There is an urgent need to work on the integration of Africa’s economy and improve inter-African trade, including the development of a common currency.
This is the reason we support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the largest free trade area in the world connecting 1.3 billion people. The launch of the African Continental Free Trade Africa (AfCFTA) represents a monumental possibility for regional integration and integrated development for the continent. But this also poses risks of foreign multinationals from Europe, China, Japan, and the US taking advantage and turning it into their market space, unless we enforce the rules of origin and focus on our efforts to industrialize and integrate our economies.
We must create jobs and opportunities for the African people. The objective of the AfCTFA should be the protection of African economies, we do not want African economies and people to trade Asian imports, we need to trade goods made in Africa to create jobs.
We want to see a GDP per capita growth that will ensure that people’s livelihoods are vastly improved. Technological solutions should be used to improve people’s lives and not to destroy them.
This is why as COSATU we are committed to the creation of a strong trade union movement in Africa. African wealth should benefit African people and if we work together as workers, we will ensure that the exploitation of the continent by corrupt politicians and greedy multinationals is prevented.
Towards this end, COSATU is calling on the African people; workers, students, land justice activists, climate and environmental justice activists, community activists, those fighting various forms of oppression, exploitation, inequalities, hunger, corruption, crime, GBV, and other forms of social problems to unite in the form of a regional and continental solidarity body, which should also seek to build Popular alternatives to neo-liberalism and all forms of economic and political injustice.
We must mobilise and unite the people against the real issues and enemies of the working class so that we can move forward and not be victimised by petty diversions and fragmentations.
COSATU will also continue advocating and calling for immediate peace in some African countries, where war and violence continue like Sudan, Congo, and Libya. We once again call on the AU to take a firm stance and end the silence on the human rights violations and deteriorating political and economic situation in some parts of the continent like Zimbabwe, Swaziland, and Western Sahara.
The Federation continues to urge the AU to reverse the decision to readmit Morocco into the Union, while they violate international law and abuse the people of Western Sahara.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794