COSATU Message of Support: ANC Elections Review Manifesto

Programme Director,

President of the ANC, Cde. Cyril Ramaphosa,

Leadership of the ANC, SACP and COSATU

Most importantly members of the movement, workers and ordinary South Africans,

Please accept the warm support today of COSATU and its Affiliates.  We are pleased to be here with you in this important process.  The Federation held its CEC this week where we resolved to support the ANC in the 2024 elections and to work flat out across all workplaces and communities to ensure the Alliance is victorious across the nation.

Our critics say the ANC and government have made many mistakes and they are correct.  We have not been shy as COSATU to criticize our comrades when they fall short and to demand action against those who fail workers.  But the ANC remains the only political party that has time and again stood with COSATU and workers. 

The ANC is a contested terrain.  Its successes from defeating the apartheid regime, to building our constitutional democracy, from the largest roll out of public services to the poor, to opening the economy to all, have been built with the sweat and blood of workers.  We will not hand over these hard-won gains to political parties who openly oppose the rights of workers and call for the mass privatization of the state.

It is the ANC led administrations who drafted our progressive Constitution and labour laws that defend the rights of workers including to form trade unions, to the delivery of water, housing, social security and many other public services to millions.

Some say do not tell us about the past and correctly ask what have you done now? It is this 6th administration that passed into law a National Minimum Wage raising the wages of 6 million farm, domestic, security, construction, retail and other workers.

No one could predict in 2019, fresh from the elections, that we would be compelled to go into a global lockdown to manage the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.  This came at a cost of more than 100 000 lives and 2 million jobs.  Despite these massive challenges, we were led decisively by President Ramaphosa. 

We worked closely with government and business as labour at Nedlac.  Together we rolled out vaccines to over 60% of South Africans, mobilised millions to adopt the PPEs and other health and safety interventions. 

We delivered a massive relief package releasing R64 billion from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to help nearly 6 million workers, billions in tax relief to help businesses avoid collapse and the SRD Grant helping 10 million unemployed. 

These came with serious challenges of corruption, but they saved the nation from total collapse.  It is this spirit of social compact between government, business and labour that is key to rebuilding the state, growing the economy, reducing unemployment.

On Friday the Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act came into effect extending cover to 900 000 domestic workers.  The Employment Equity Amendment Act also came into effect requiring companies doing business with the state to comply with the Employment Equity and the National Minimum Wage Act.

As we head towards the last stretch of this administration, it is fundamental that we finish what we committed to in the 2019 manifesto.  Parliament must pass the:

  • National Health Insurance Bill to create quality and affordable healthcare for all.
  • Expropriation Bill to accelerate access for land for the poor in all communities.
  • Two pot pension reform bills to allow struggling workers early access to parts of their pension funds.
  • Companies Amendment Bill to compel companies to disclose the wage gaps between the highest and lowest paid employees.
  • Public Procurement Bill to tackle state corruption and boost localisation.

Whilst we applaud the progress made, we must not hide the failures.  We must remember the wise words of Amilcar Cabral, “tell no lies, claim no easy victories”.

Corruption remains a cancer throughout society, with our own comrades included.  We welcome the progress made within the ANC and government to renew and to remove, expel, arrest, prosecute and convict those who have stolen so much.  But more must be done.  SARS must be empowered to conduct lifestyle audits, the headcount of the SAPS must be boosted, courts must be resourced to fast-track corruption cases.

State capture took a massive toll on the state.  The crises at Eskom, Transnet, Prasa, the SABC, Post Office and municipalities have been devastating for workers.  We welcome progress at Eskom, including its debt relief but more must be done to restore our SOEs and municipalities to be the enablers of economic growth they once were. 

Interventions must take place in local government to ensure their employees are paid.  All employers including the state must respect collective bargaining and our labour laws.  We remain opposed to privatization and any attempt to weaken the state’s role.

Some of our own supporters ask why they should vote for the ANC in 2024?  They are right to be angry.  We all are.  But the working class simply does not have the luxury of giving up, of handing our country over to criminals.  We have come too far to abandon the struggle for a better life for all.  We have made too much progress and have too much still to do, to simply walk away.

What is needed now is to accelerate the cleansing of the ANC, rebuilding the state and our SOEs, finishing the remaining Bills at Parliament, increasing access to the SRD Grant and the Presidential Employment Programme for the poor and unemployed, arresting those who break the law, abuse women and steal from the poor.

COSATU is determined, working with the ANC and the SACP, to ensure not only do we have a bold and progressive 2024 manifesto to deliver that better life for all, and that we ensure the Alliance emerges with an absolute majority across the nation. 

Now is the time to roll up our sleeves, unite the movement, fix the state, grow the economy, reduce unemployment and heal the nation.  Thank you.  Amandla!

Issued by COSATU