COSATU message of support for UDF 40th anniversary celebrations

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) will join the celebrations of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the United Democratic Front (UDF) that will take place at 13h00 on Sunday 20 August at Johannesburg City Hall and in similar events across the country. 

This is a moment to pay tribute to the countless heroes, from Oscar Mpetha to Elijah Barayi and Nana Abrahams, who built the UDF on the factory floors, at schools and universities, in civics and unions, in prisons and from exile.  Their indomitable efforts made the UDF and its allies, including COSATU, into a formidable force that finally broke the apartheid regime in spite of its powerful security forces. 

The UDF was able to mobilise millions of South Africans from all races, classes, religions and regions in support for a democratic constitutional order and the Freedom Charter’s vision for a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it and where all would find work, housing, education, healthcare, safety and a better life for all.

We have made great strides in achieving many of the UDF’s noble goals, from a robust constitutional democracy, to repealing racist laws, to the biggest roll out of municipal and public services to working class communities, providing social grants for 27 million indigent people and rolling out infrastructure to disadvantaged.

Whilst much progress has been made, we cannot afford to be complacent or to delude ourselves into believing that we can continue with business as usual with an unemployment rate of 42.1%, rising levels of poverty and inequality, the most unequal society in the world, crises of loadshedding and cable theft, austerity budget cuts and deteriorating municipal and public services, and endemic crime and corruption.  The non-racial and non-sexist and working class biased vision of the UDF is showing signs of strain as the nation struggles to meet its many challenges.

The unifying spirit of the UDF and the progressive vision of the Freedom Charter remain as relevant today as it did when the UDF was launched that August day in 1983 in Rocklands, Mitchell’s Plain.  It is critical that not only does the ANC and the Alliance rejuvenate its call to action, but in fact all South Africans too. 

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687