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Media Centre  |  COSATU Speeches

Message of Support delivered by the COSATU president at the 2015 SACP 3rd Special National Congress, held at the University of Johannesburg Campus in Soweto

10 July 2015

The General Secretary of the SACP, Comrade Blade Nzimande
The entire leadership of the South African Communist Party [SACP]

The leadership of our various Alliance components present; The African National Congress [ANC] and the South African National Civics Organization [SANCO]
The leadership of COSATU present
The General Secretary of the Young Communist League and the delegation of the Young Communist League [YCL]
Our International Guests
Comrades delegates

Please accept revolutionary and warm greetings from COSATU
As COSATU, we are pleased to have been invited to give a message of support to a Special National Congress of the SACP – the political mouthpiece a leader and the protectors of the workers and the working class as a whole.
We want to say that all the reports tabled at the congress have been inspiring!

Comrades, we are meeting at a time when there is a huge offensive directed at the workers, the working class and in particular against the progressive organisations known to be the genuine representatives of the working class.
One of the central features of this offensive includes undermining our organisations through consistent attack of our leaders.
As COSATU prepares towards its Special National Congress, this offensive has become even clearer.
A section of those unions who asked for a Special National Congress particularly those who have not come back to the CEC have stayed away from preparatory processes towards the very Special National Congress they asked for.

Instead we have received reports with evidence of written documents that there is a well funded plan which runs into millions which include deploying some individuals to divide our unions at a provincial level, to transport or bus non delegates, who will be picketing at the sidelines of the Special National Congress, some of these include getting unions in good standing who have not come to the CEC to remove their own delegates and have them replaced by delegates who are not members of the union and to also stage a walk out in case things do not happen their way.
All this is based on the realisation that the plan to steal away COSATU has failed and there is now an open intention to cause chaos within our ranks including disrupting the Special National Congress.

We have been told that a new federation will be launched on the dates coinciding with the Special National Congress.
We want to assure you comrades the COSATU Special National Congress will focus on unity and cohesion and on leadership issues.
The Special National Congress has been convened under the theme ““Building unity and cohesion of COSATU to advance the National Democratic Revolution”
This Special National Congress of COSATU is going to be centrally about choosing to elevate an individual over an organisation or choosing the centrality and superiority of the organisation above all of us.

It will be about a choice between embracing ill – discipline by individuals or choosing to embrace organisational discipline and our code of conduct
The COSATU’s Special National Congress will be about differentiating between lies and the truth!
It is going to be about asserting and defending the founding principles of COSATU or allowing these principles to be undermined.

It will be about allowing COSATU to be stolen away or defending our glorious organisation with everything we have.
The Special National Congress of COSATU is going to about defending the strategy of our movement which instructs that the golden rule in a political struggle is always to isolate the most dangerous enemy, while at the same time strengthening to the maximum the progressive camp.

It is going to be about defending our collective understanding that in South African conditions, the broad strategy of national democratic struggle is the route to the most far-reaching and rapid changes in our country. It is not an unfortunate or delaying tactic; it is a broad strategy that we consider with the utmost seriousness.
The Special National Congress will therefore be about choosing to build a bogus United Front or choosing to build and strengthening the Alliance and MDM structures on the ground.
It is going to be about asserting and re-affirming the character of COSATU as a federation of trade unions or accepting to change COSATU into a political entity that will replace the ANC and the SACP.

Comrades when we say this, we don’t mean that as COSATU our focus will be exclusively be in the workplace and therefore we will not participate in political struggles.
Our theory informs us that it is the organised detachment of the working class, located strategically at the point of production, that constitute the most powerful motive force of our revolution.

We are going to the Special National Congress to defend COSATU and to lay a foundation for genuine class unity!
We want comrades to know that as COSATU National Office Bearers and the Central Executive Committee supported by millions of our members we are ready to dispatch the task for which the Special National Congress has been convened.
Those who have planned to cause disruptions will find us waiting for them and not only waiting but prepared. We are more than ready to defend the federation of Elijah Barayi.

Comrades this Special National Congress of the SACP has come at a time when as the movement we were in a process of purging ourselves. We have just started a process in the recent Alliance Summit to confront all the issues which we see as the causes of divisions in our ranks.
As COSATU we have said and we continue to say at the centre of what is dividing us in the Alliance is non implementation of resolutions and decisions we have agreed on as the Alliance.

The integrity of the Alliance is found in the relationship between what is says in meetings and what happens in practice.
This is what made us to be respected by both our friends and foes.
Comrades we have come to this Special National Congress of the SACP to say let us live up to the instructions of the Alliance Summit.

The Alliance Summit said on amongst others that let us all defend the unity of COSATU and the unity of the working class.
It also said that the alliance partners are united in defending the unity of COSATU along the principle of `one union; one industry; one federation; one country.` An injury to one alliance partner is an injury to us all.

The independence of COSATU as a strong militant and fighting force for the rights of workers is affirmed.
The Summit also affirms its support of the right of COSATU to make its own decisions concerning internal discipline”.
Comrades, the unity we want is the unity that will build COSATU into a strong instrument of war in the hands of workers against employers.

We are very clear that our principal enemy is monopoly-capital and white-monopoly-capital in particular. These constitute the real South African ruling class.
The power of this ruling class is rooted in its ownership and control of the basic means of production.

The mines, the banks and major industries such as forestry, petroleum, steel and large segments of the wholesale and retail sector, are dominated by monopolies. These sectors play a decisive role in the daily lives of our people.
In addition, South Africa has long resolved the agrarian question. Agriculture is now dominated by large-scale farms and has experienced massive concentration and centralisation. Land-ownership continues to be concentrated in the hands of a minority, especially commercial land.

We have therefore come to this Special National Congress of the SACP to ask our communist party to work with us to unite the federation not just through boardroom engagements important as it is to have such engagements but we want to build the unity of COSATU in the battlefield as we wage war against our class enemies -employers and monopoly Capital in general.

We have come to this Special National Congress of the SACP to ask that after our Special National Congress we should immediately convene the meeting of the Ideological commission as part of the process to develop a common understanding on what should constitute the content of second more radical phase of our transition.

For us the second phase of our transitions is about the need the need to fundamentally transform the structure of our economy, and promote a new path of growth through redistribution; the need for a massive concerted push to industrialise our economy, and that of the region; the need to place the creation of decent work for all at the centre of economic policy; and to place redistribution and combating economic inequality and poverty as a fundamental pillar of economic development.

We argue that without fundamental transformation of ownership and control of the economy, especially the nationalisation of strategic sectors, as envisaged in the Freedom Charter and without asserting the central role of the State in intervening in the economy there is no prospect of radical economic transformation.

Radical economic transformation can only be driven by an organisation which is present amongst the masses and enjoys the confidence of the masses.

We therefore should confront the weaknesses of the movement at the centre of which has been the demobilisation of the motive forces, the subsuming of the ANC as a leading party in government under the dictates of the state bureaucracy, the undermining of the ANC itself and the ANC- led Alliance to formulate state policy and monitor its implementation, and the tendency to elevate (untransformed) state power over mass power.

The central feature of the elevation of the state over the movement has been to see mass-based activism against the deficiencies of the state as being counter-revolutionary, oppositional and thereby a) distancing the ANC led liberation movement from such activities, leading to a situation where a gap between the masses and the liberation movement develops and b) uncritical defence of the inherent horrible deficiencies of the inherited colonial and capitalist state, leading the masses to gradually lose confidence in the capacity of the movement to drive transformation.
It is important that the movement must consistently ensure that the various capacities of the working class are enhanced, in line with the demands of the struggle.
In particular, the policies that the movement puts in place must be gauged primarily on the extent to which they enhance working class power or the reduce it.

This is particularly relevant in relation to debates on the labour market, because we want to repeat that our theory informs us that it is the organised detachment of the working class, located strategically at the point of production, that constitute the most powerful motive force of our revolution.
The pre –requisite to the second more radical phase of our transition is building the unity of our organisations from the ground

Let us all go back to basics!