COSATU Message of Support: ANC 112th Anniversary

Comrade chairperson, Gwede Mantashe,

President of the ANC and the Republic, comrade Cyril Ramaphosa,

Leadership of our Alliance Partners, the African National Congress and the South Communist Party, as well as the Federation, COSATU at all levels,

Most importantly our members, our supporters and the public at large,

Comrades good morning,

We are pleased to celebrate the ANC’s 112th anniversary. No matter the challenges facing the ANC, its place in history as the leader of the struggle to free South Africa and build a non-racial and non-sexist democracy is assured.

Since coming to office, the ANC has made major strides in breaking down the legacies of apartheid and colonialism and ensuring public services are available for all communities.  Today 60% of state expenditure is spent poor communities. 

Whilst some say these are yesterday’s victories, the ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa, passed the National Minimum Wage uplifting six million workers’ wages.  Government worked tirelessly with Labour and Business at Nedlac to manage the COVID-19 pandemic and oversee a massive roll out of relief to the poor, including the SRD grant benefiting 8 million unemployed and the UIF helping 6 million workers.

Progress is being made to expand workers’ rights, pass the National Health Insurance Bill, extend workplace insurance for domestic workers, increase maternity and parental leave benefits and allow struggling workers early access to their pensions.  Our challenges are immense, from unemployment to loadshedding, the crises affecting Transnet, Prasa, other SOEs and municipalities, crime and corruption. 

It is natural to feel despondent but there has been real progress. Unemployment fell by 5% over the past year and strides have been made in reducing loadshedding.

As we prepare for the State of the Nation Address and the Budget, government needs to be bold and aggressive; and extend relief for the unemployed, protect workers, tackle corruption and crime, invest in public services and stimulate the economy. 

Mr. President, government needs to:

  • Raise the SRD Grant to the food poverty line.
  • Extend the Presidential Employment Programme to provide 2 million jobs.
  • Ensure the implementation of the 2 Pot Pension Reforms on 1 September 2024.
  • Remove delays in the rollout of the public infrastructure programme.
  • Intervene in the 36 municipalities routinely failing to pay workers.
  • Provide additional support for Eskom to end loadshedding.
  • Urgently stabilise and modernise Transnet and Metro Rail.
  • Prevent the collapse of the Post Office and Postbank.
  • Allocate additional resources to ensure the law enforcement agencies and courts so they can win the war against crime and corruption.
  • Empower SARS to tackle tax evasion and customs fraud.
  • Fill all public sector vacancies by April 2024.
  • Ensure Parliament passes the remaining critical Bills before the elections.
  • Draft legislation for non-trading holidays and extending election voting hours.

We are engaging government and employers to address workers’ frustrations, including healing the wounds of the 2018 public service wage agreement and ensuring collective bargaining is respected at all times by all employers. 

The ANC is not perfect.  It makes mistakes, but it has also worked over many years to champion and deliver working class demands.  It is the product of workers’ struggles. 

We dare not give up when the challenges facing workers are immense.  We must not abandon our many hard-won victories. 

Let us mobilise workers in our numbers to ensure the ANC is returned to office on election day and continue to work to improve the lives of all South Africans.

Thank you.  Amandla!