COSATU Message of Support – ANC Veterans League Congress

Programme Director,

Leadership of the ANC Veterans League, the ANC, SACP and all Alliance components,

Thank you for inviting COSATU to attend and offer a message of support to this important congress in the life of the League and the Alliance.  Whilst we are happy to join you today, we are disappointed that we received our invitation at the last minute.  We need to improve how we do things as a movement.

COSATU shares the concerns of the Veterans League about the state of the ANC, the Alliance, the state, economy and society at large.  Whilst we have done well on many fronts since the democratic breakthrough in 1994 from spending 60% of the budget on the social wage, to rolling out public services and relief aimed at the poor to more recent interventions such as releasing R64 billion from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to help 5.7 million workers take care of their families during Covid-19.

However, all of these gains are under serious threat due to the state of the movement, state and economy.  We have been at pains at the levels of factionalism, corruption and ill discipline that have become endemic across our beloved movement.

Workers have been particularly angered by the actions of some of our deployees in government, from the abandoning of a signed wage agreement in the public service in 2020, to the non-payment of municipal salaries across 36 municipalities, the creeping in of privatization of State-Owned Enterprises amongst many other crises.

We have shared the anger and frustration of the Veterans League and have been comforted by the forthright and constructive manner in which the League has raised issues.  Indeed, this has been the approach of the Federation, let us continue to speak truth to power, to commend comrades when they do well, to guide comrades when they err, and to tackle those who bring shame to the movement. 

It is critical that the Veterans League and the Federation remain vigilant, more so as we prepare for our most difficult elections since 1994 in 9 months when not only the 6th administration will be judged in the ballot box, but in fact the entire National Democratic Revolution. 

It is critical that we ensure the reconfiguration and the rebuilding of the Alliance.  The League will no doubt add valued insights in this process.  We must remain vigilant at the performance and conduct of all components in the Alliance without fear or favour.

We need to ensure that government acts decisively over the remaining 9 months to ensure the Alliance wins a resounding majority nationally and across the provinces.  This means we must expand relief for the poor and unemployed and workers, release stimuli to boost the economy, rebuild the state and SOEs and municipalities, accelerate the fight against crime and corruption.  We cannot afford to continue with a business as usual approach.  Difficult times require decisive leadership.  We cannot afford to fail.  History will judge us harshly if we do.  Thank you.  Matla!