COSATU applauds workers for turning out in their numbers to celebrate the ANC’s 112th anniversary celebrations in Mbombela

16 January 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) applauds workers for turning out in their numbers to celebrate the African National Congress’(ANC)’s 112th anniversary celebrations in Mbombela.  The overwhelming response of workers and ordinary South Africans from not only Mbombela and Mpumalanga but in fact from across the nation, is humbling.

The Federation offers its deepest sympathies and best wishes for the families of the five ANC members who tragically died in a traffic accident en route to the celebrations on Saturday.

Workers and ordinary South Africans respect and support the ANC not only as the leader of the liberation struggle that gave birth to our democratic dispensation in 1994, and that has systematically worked to overcome South Africa’s painful legacies of racism, apartheid and colonialism since being elected into office in 1994.  It is no small achievement that 60% of the state’s budget today is spent uplifting disadvantaged communities.

Few other developing countries can point to nearly half the nation receiving some sort of financial grant, working class students receiving free basic and tertiary education, the foundations for affordable healthcare being laid, an unemployment net, relief of R64 billion to help 5.7 million workers who lost wages during the COVID-19 pandemic, a National Minimum Wage that has raised the wages of 6 million workers across the private sector and one of the world’s most successfully vaccination roll out programmes that saved countless lives and livelihoods.

The ANC has done well on many fronts but mistakes, including some that have brought great pain, have also been made.  Whilst COSATU like others, have been angered at such instances, we welcome the efforts by the ANC led by President Cyril Ramaphosa, to remove those implicated in corruption and criminal activities, to renew the ANC and rebuild public services and State-Owned Enterprises.

This process of renewal will not be easy.  Some, in particular those at the heart of the state capture project have chosen to walk away from the ANC.  Yet this is a course we must not only continue, but in fact accelerate.

The ANC need not worry about those who will throw stones at it.  That’s par for the course of democracies, more so in the run up to elections.  The ANC must simply focus on governing and improving the lives of ordinary citizens.  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. 

Key interventions government needs to action include:

  • Raising the SRD Grant to the food poverty line.
  • Extending the Presidential Employment Programme to provide 2 million jobs for young people.
  • Ensuring the implementation of the 2 Pot Pension Reforms on 1 September 2024.
  • Removing delays in the rollout of the public infrastructure programme.
  • Intervening in the 36 municipalities routinely failing to pay workers.
  • Providing additional support for Eskom to end loadshedding.
  • Urgently stabilising and modernising Transnet and Metro Rail.
  • Preventing the collapse of the Post Office and Postbank.
  • Allocating additional resources to ensure the law enforcement agencies and courts so they can win the war against crime and corruption.
  • Empowering SARS to tackle tax evasion and customs fraud.
  • Filling all public sector vacancies by April 2024.
  • Ensuring Parliament passes the remaining critical Bills before the elections.
  • Drafting legislation for non-trading holidays and extending election voting hours.

COSATU will continue 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. 

The Federation and its Affiliates will crisscross the country from farms to factories, from schools to clinics, from shopping centres to communities to mobilise workers in their numbers to ensure the ANC is returned to office on election day and continues to work to improve the lives of all South Africans.

Issued by COSATU

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