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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Speeches

Speech Delivered at the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Congress by COSATU 2nd Deputy President, Comrade Zingiswa Losi at Durban in KwaZulu-Natal on the 29th July 2015

31 July 2015

The Provincial Chairperson
The entire leadership of the province from all levels
Alliance leaders present here today
The Mass Democratic Movement [MDM] formations and the leadership of the civil society formations
Please accept warm and revolutionary greetings from your Federation, The Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU].
We have just coming from the Special National Congress at Midrand.

We went into the Special National Congress defending ourselves from attacks and contaminated by insults which had been directed at COSATU and its leadership but workers cleansed us and inspired us to continue to serve them with even more vigour.

When others wanted to declare a vote of no confidence to COSATU leadership, workers affirmed their leaders.
When others wanted to divide COSATU as part of a plan to use its carcass to form a new Federation, workers declared that they want a united COSATU.

When others went to the Special National Congress to redirect COSATU away from the Alliance, workers said COSATU is part of the Congress movement and will remain in the revolutionary alliance.
Others wanted COSATU to turn a blind eye on the misconducts against our constitution and our federation; workers said the Central Executive Committee [CEC] was correct to act.
We came out of that Congress more emboldened to move forward to build unity of the Federation.

We came out of that congress with our heads up carrying a mandate from workers that everything we have said and dome was correct and that we should do more.
We came out of that congress understanding that even though some of our unions have wronged the Federation but we cannot treat them like our enemies.

Our enemy is white monopoly capital.
Our enemies are those who want to destroy COSATU and steal it so that it can be used at the service of other agendas whose strategic objective is to effect regime change.
Our enemies are those who even after the Special National Congress have spoken but will continue to beat the drums of divisions.

The delegates who were in that congress gave us an overarching mandate which is to ensure that everything we do should gravitate towards ensuring that we achieve unity and cohesion of the Federation.
Congress instructed that it should not just be unity but it should be unity in action.

It is for this reason comrades that we expect this Provincial Congress to come up with a very clear programme which will take us to the workplaces, that we will heighten our offense e against employers and capital.
We need you comrades to start mobilising members so that they can be combat ready as we prepare for a Section 77 on socio – economic demands

We want a state construction company
We want a state Bank
We want a state pharmaceutical company otherwise capital will make it impossible for us to implement the National Health Insurance [NHI].

We are starting now to prepare towards our 30th anniversary congress and on amongst others we will update our discussion document on unity and cohesion to be sharper on issues raised in the Special National Congress.
Amongst the things the Special National Congress identified was a need for a commission which will deal with our constitutional amendments.

The Special National Congress said we should consider the establishment of a commission similar to the September Commission we had towards the 6th Congress in 1997.
But more importantly, the brave workers who gathered at that historic Special National Congress, those brave workers who could not be intimidated and deceived by lies said unity must be about building COSATU based on its founding principles of One Country – One Federation ; One Union –One Industry ; Worker Control ; Paid up Membership ; worker solidarity , non racialism and unity.

In summary, thee most immediate tasks moving forward will include taking up a campaign which will include a focus on the following amongst others:
Taking forward Unity projects through implementation of the recommendations from the ANC task team and the Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo Report, continuing to work with former leaders of COSATU and taking forward the work already started by the National Office Bearers [NOB’s] to meeting with various affiliates and working with the SACP to build capacity of affiliates in various sectors. This will include starting a process of addressing the identified challenges in our unions which include use of money during elections, corruption, business unionism etc.

Starting a process towards the 30th Anniversary and a Congress to be held at the end of November this year.
This will include setting up a commission will start looking at the Federations constitution and a consideration to establish a commission similar to the 1997 September Commission which will focus on the federation’s wide organisational renewal

Working with affiliates to develop and implement a programme on workplace visits which will focus in vulnerable sectors and will include listening to workers and addressing their challenges. This wills also include soliciting mandates regarding the actual figure for the National Minimum Wage and confronting racism in the workplace.

Reviving and submitting our Section 77 Notice based on our socio – economic demands on Strategic Nationalisation, on Macroeconomic Policy, employment creation, on land reforms, Introduction of redistributive tax, on the labour market which include our demand for the total ban of labour brokers , on health which include our demand for the implementation of NHI and the establishment of a state pharmaceutical company, a campaign for the establishment of a state Bank, a state construction company etc and our demands against an increase in electricity tariffs.

Taking forward our campaign for a reliable, affordable, accessible and safe public transport and in this context continue to demand the scrapping of e-tolls
Taking forward the Special Congress Mandate focusing on our gender campaign which will include a campaign against sexual harassment in the workplace including in our own unions.

Moving forward we remain guided by the advice from comrade Govan Mbeki , popularly known as Oom Gov when he said that “....our starting point is to direct our attention and efforts to the source of our strength by saying: `Go to the masses of the oppressed and exploited peoples of our land. Work among them; work with them to prepare the way for a take-over of power.` Expressed briefly this is to say: `Go. Organise.`

He continues and says that experience has taught, however, that a lot more requires to be known about organising if the product of our efforts and activities, i.e. organisation, is to be effective. And if the oppressed and exploited are to achieve their end, viz to take over power, they must build effective organisational machinery. And to have such organisational machinery there is no room for haphazard and half-hearted measures. The task has to be tackled seriously and systematically “

We have no other option but to build our organisation. It is the only thing we have!
Amandla !