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Media Centre  |  Declarations

Declaration of the 11th SAMWU National Congress

31 August 2015

Declaration of the 11th SAMWU National Congress


We the 500 delegates representing over 150 000 Municipal Workers in South Africa have gathered at the Olive Convention Center in Durban, KwaZulu Natal from the 26th to 29th August 2015 for the SAMWU 11th National Congress – the highest decision making body within our union under the theme “fighting for decent jobs, wages and accessible services.” The congress has shown that contrary to selfish media propaganda reports that SAMWU has lost its standing as a progressive and militant union, SAMWU is beyond reasonable doubt the only progressive union in the Local Government.

Our 11th National Congress is held weeks after we have concluded salary and wage negotiations in most sectors which we organise in, notably Amathole Water, Bloem Water, Mhlathuze Water, Lepelle Northern Water, Rand Water and SALGA. We believe that the congress has crafted new strategies and tactics on how we can better fight for bread and butter issues of our members.


The congress re-affirmed its affiliation and membership to COSATU as the only progressive trade union federation in our country, the only beacon of hope for the entire working class in South Africa. The congress unanimously supported the decisions of COSATU CEC to expel both NUMSA and the former General Secretary.

We are pleased that when media reports came to the fore about SAMWU belonging to a certain grouping, NOBs were quick to dismiss such irresponsible and incorrect reports. The congress mandates the newly elected NOBs to engage our sister unions to return to COSATU constitutional meetings. We are further pleased that SAMWU has not boycotted any constitutional meeting of our beloved federation. All SAMWU provinces are instructed to contribute to towards the unity of COSATU in their respective provinces.


Congress delegates unanimously agree on the relevance of the alliance, we believe that the ANC led alliance is the only vehicle which will lead us to the achievement of our socialist agenda. We re-affirm without any ambiguity that COSATU belongs to the congress movement. The congress further re-affirms previous resolutions on the swelling of the ranks of the ANC, SACP and SANCO.

2016 Local Government Elections

The congress notes that South Africa will be holding Local Government elections somewhere between May and August 2016. This congress resoled to re-affirm its resolutions for full support of the ANC in the upcoming elections. It therefore instructed NOBs and CEC to ensure that feasibly available resources are used to ensure a landslide victory for the ANC in 2016.

As the only COSATU affiliated union in Local Government, congress resolves that SAMWU should prepare itself to be visible and to be in campaign mode. Congress further cautioned the ANC to ensure the nominations of credible candidates for ward councillorship to maintain and retain ANC support amongst the voters.

State of Municipalities

Congress notes that our country’s municipalities are facing serious challenges with a third of them in ICU. Congress unanimously resolved that SAMWU should resuscitate anti-privatisation campaigns targeted largely at outsourcing and Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) and the outsourcing of municipal services. This congress unanimously believe that municipal services should be fully rendered by municipalities as this is their core function.

Delegates to this congress notes that majority of the challenges faced by municipalities are financial. Municipalities have failed to recoup money owed for services rendered. Congress however believe that the main function of municipalities is the provision of services and not profit making. We believe that denying municipal services to individuals who are unable to pay for such services would be a clear violation of human rights. Congress therefore calls on SALGA to engage National Treasury to increase the equitable share given to local government so to enable municipalities to deliver better and accessible services to South Africans, irrespective of their economic conditions which are by the way a historical consequence. This congress believe that the state should be characterised in such a way that it is pro-working class and pro-poor.

Organisational Renewal

Congress notes that the past year has been difficult for SAMWU, we have had to deal with individuals who believed that they are bigger than the union. Congress delegates resolved that the union should take measures to ensure that discipline is instilled in all structures of the union. The discipline of union members and leaders cannot be compromised at all.

Congress notes that SAMWU has the potential of growing well beyond 500 000 members. Delegates therefore resolved on having practical organising strategies that will increase our membership base, including recruiting workers who are outsourced and working under EPWP programmes, after all they are municipal workers.

We note that our constitution has various loopholes which may be open to abuse, as such congress delegates resolved that NOBs should as a matter of urgency prioritise having a policy conference which will work on closing these loopholes. We further note that we began this years’ salary and wage negotiations without having have gone to a collective bargaining conference as a result of the challenges we faced. Congress therefore declares that a collective bargaining conference should be convened well in advance before the next salary and wage negotiations commence.

The congress notes the need for unambiguous political direction and ideological posture so to avoid political contradictions within the union. Congress delegates therefore resolve that NOBs should put in place measure for the establishment of a Political Bureau.

Pension Reforms

The introductions of the pension fund reforms are problematic given that that there has been no clear consultation for those affected who are workers. This congress notes massive consequences as a result of the implementation of such reforms mainly because black workers will lose their homes and livelihoods in the event that they decide they want to leave employment or in the worst case scenario they are dismissed. This congress therefore resolves that COSATU should take the lead in challenging the implementation of this reforms.


The struggle of our Palestinian brothers and sisters continues on a daily basis, as former President Nelson Mandela once said “our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of Palestine.” It is for this reason that congress resolved that SAMWU should resuscitate and re-affirm our support for BDS, we should ensure that we take a leading role to ensure the freedom of our Palestinian comrades from the hands of the apartheid state of Israel.

Congress welcomes with release of the Cuban 5 from American prisons. We however believe that their release is incomplete so long as the economic embargo is still in place. We also note and welcome the lukewarm diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA. Congress therefore calls on the immediate lifting of economic embargo and formalisation of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The dictatorial government of Swaziland continues to suppress progressive formations such as PUDEMO and SFTU. Congress welcomes the release of Cde Mario Masuku from jail. We call on all political prisoners languishing in Swazi prisons to be released. We further call on South African civil society to distance itself from social activities organised in Swaziland or by the Swazi Government.

This congress notes the great embarrassment that the International Criminal Court (ICC) had caused to the South African government as a result of the legitimate visit by Omar Al-Bashir to our country at the invitation of the African Union. We do not believe that the ICC is now serving its purpose for which it was intended but now merely serving other’s interests. This congress therefore calls on our democratic government to withdraw its signature from the ICC.


Congress as the highest decision making body has elected new National Office Bearer who will be responsible for steering SAMWU to new heights.

We thank outgoing NOBs for the dedication and work that they have done for the union in their past terms and believe that we can still use their experience elsewhere in the union.

Elected NOBs are;

President : Pule Molalenyane

1st Deputy President : John Dlamini

2nd Deputy President : Lorraine Baitsiwe

Treasurer : Portia Lindi

General Secretary : Walter Theledi

Deputy General Secretary : Koena Ramotlou