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  |  Declarations

Declaration: COSATU 12th National Congress

Held from 23rd - 26th November 2015 at Gallagher Estate, Midrand

We, the more than 2,500 voting delegates to this 12th National Congress of COSATU gathered in Midrand, Johannesburg and celebrating our unbroken 30 fighting years, declare for all our country and the world to know, that our trade unions are emerging from this congress under the banner of COSATU more united and determined to build our giant, militant and class-oriented federation for all the workers of our country and the struggles ahead.

Our congress took place in the year of the 60th anniversaries of the Freedom Charter and the founding of our forerunner, the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). We represent 1,9 million workers across a wide-range of sectors in the South African economy, and are drawn from all the provinces of our country, from urban centres and countryside, under the theme: Unity and Cohesion of COSATU to advance the National Democratic Revolution. We draw strength and inspiration from the messages of support from our allies, the African National Congress, the South African Community Party and the South African National Civic Organisation, as well as from the World Federation of Trade Unions, the International Trade Union Confederation and all our esteemed guests, to forge ahead with more determination to meet the challenges facing our members and the working class as a whole.

Our 12th National Congress has placed us in an advantageous position, to see the real challenges confronting us clearer.

We declare for all to know that as unions organised under the banner of COSATU, we have put our divisions behind us so that we are able to confront our real class enemies as a united force!

We are forging ahead on the path of the mandate given by our Special national Congress this year to deepen and consolidate the unity and cohesion of the federation, based on an understanding that COSATU’s unity is sacrosanct!

We are preparing to heighten our struggles in all fronts. Clear that none other than the working class itself will take forward its struggles, advance and defend its interests and aspirations, we commit to fight to the bitter end for that which belongs to the workers and the working class as a whole. In this regard we will continue to strengthen the socialist axis of our alliance and ensure that the alliance as a whole is reconfigured to function optimally in pursuit of our shared historical missions.

We appreciate the fact that we are conducting our struggle under conditions which are not of our own choosing. Our struggle is being waged in a period of persisting systemic crisis of global capitalism and a world that is ever more afflicted by imperialist aggression and imperialist inspired terrorist atrocities.

The unfolding global capitalist system’s multiple-crises underscore the insights of Vladimir Lenin, that the epoch of imperialism is one which “is relatively much more violent, spasmodic, disastrous and conflicting, an epoch which for the mass of the population is typified not so much by a ‘horror without end’ as by a ‘horrible end ”.

The Middle East , the Arab Penensula and North Africa a region which at the time of our last congress was overflowing with hope in the wake of the inspiring mass uprisings, has now exploded into a theatre of war, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. Israeli’s aggression against the people of Palestine has also worsened. The hellish banditry of ISIS and the predatory imperialist schemes of regime-change orchestrated by Western imperialism have slaughtered thousands of people and turned millions into refugees.

The glaring fundamental feature of imperialism during this period of global economic crisis is its continued ability to respond in a manner which bolsters the ideological existence of capitalism whilst at the same time heightens its offensive by shifting the burden of the economic crisis on to the working class.

The centralization and concentration of capital and wealth; the financialisation of the economy; the systematic attack on the social functions of the state; the attacks on international law and sovereignty of the states; the monopolization of the world’s political power by a few, imperialist states, build on the foundation of economic concentration again for a few in those countries; the strategies of militarization of international relations, are features of capitalist policies that dominate most countries all over the world today.

The dominance of imperialism has come with the heightening offensive against the working class which expresses itself in government policies all over the world which include cuts in real wages; intensification of of work and associated retrenchments; deregulation and increase in working hours; deregulation of labour relations; widespread casual labour, particularly among the women and young workers; over-exploitation of migrant workers; appropriation of labour productivity gains by capital; cuts in pensions and retirement benefits; increase in unemployment rates; regression of social and labour rights; and the denial of the right to bargain collectively and to strike.

Here at home, part of this offensive also manifests itself through liberal commentators, bourgeois economists and their like in the political fold who have fabricated a baseless allegation against our progressive trade union movement. They say our unions are narrowly concerned only with the interests and aspirations of the employed workers without regard to the unemployed. We will not allow this neoliberal tirade and false divide to succeed in its intention - which is to divide and rule the workers for ever, deepen exploitation and maximise profit at the expense of the working class as a whole, both employed and unemployed.

As COSATU, we will not allow to be confused and blackmailed by bourgeois ideologies and the false consciousness that has gripped certain sections of our society and some in our own broad movement post-1994. Inequality, unemployment and poverty have not been invented and are not being reproduced by workers and trade unions. Inequality, unemployment and poverty are the necessary conditions and products for the existence of the capitalist system of exploitation and are used by the capitalist class to lower wages and cut back on workers’ hard-won gains. This is the reason why the capitalist class, its ideologues and sympathisers are calling on our trade unions to “moderate” wage demands (the youth wage subsidy as one of many an examples), reduce the protections and hard-won gains of the workers.

The fortunes of the rich and the super-rich have soared, while social inequality has reached unprecedented levels as a result of the vast appropriation of wealth from the bottom to the top. Far from resolving the contradictions that have manifested themselves, capitalism has exacerbated the problem of global poverty and inequality.

Our own continent, Africa, has not been spared the scourge of the destabilising imperialist ploys and horrors of terrorism. In this regard we pledge solidarity with the peoples of West and East Africa who are under siege from terrorist attacks.

We also reaffirm our solidarity with the struggling peoples of Swaziland and Western Sahara.

We are angry that more than one trillion dollars flowed illicitly out of Africa in the past 30 years, dwarfing capital inflows, and stifling economic development. Equally, we note with anger that around 14 African countries are still obliged by France through a colonial pact, to put 85% of their foreign reserves into the French Central Bank. These countries still pay a colonial debt and those who refuse are either killed or become victims of a coup. On the other hand, those African elites, the comprador bourgeoisie, who obey are rewarded by France with lavish lifestyles while their people endure extreme poverty and desperation.

We are angry that poverty stubbornly persists on the African continent in the midst of massive natural wealth, which is estimated by the UN Economic Commission for Africa as including 12 percent of the world’s oil reserves, 42 percent of its gold, 80 to 90 percent of chromium and platinum group metals and 60 percent of arable land.

Combined with neo-colonial land grabs, rampant mineral extraction, corruption and elicit outflows of billions of dollars, more and more people of our continent find themselves trapped in sprawling slums and haunted by the spectre of avoidable diseases and death.

As a response to this imperialist offensive, the countries of the South have responded by mobilising themselves into a bloc constituted in the main by China, Asia, Africa and some countries in Latin America. These countries have presented themselves as an alternative engine of growth and development for the world economy and as an anti -thesis to the USA and European based growth and development models. However, even these inspiring developments are currently being threatened by counter revolution and are facing aggressive imperialist schemes to roll them back. This is despite the formalisation of the diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA.

The determination of imperialist counter-revolution is underscored by the continuation of the criminal economic blockade against Cuba and Obama’s executive order declaring Venezuela as an“extraordinary and unusual threat to the national security of the United States”.

Nonetheless, we note with admiration the indomitable resolve of the peoples of South America in their resistance and defence of their gains. As ever, we pledge solidarity with them, especially with the Cuban revolution whose outstanding heroes visited our country earlier this year. We pledge solidarity with the Bolivarian people’s republic of Venezuela who is facing a counter revolution aimed at reversing the gains of the people’s revolution

On our part, we are convinced that unless we study and draw lessons from experiences of this region, including on the clandestine role imperialist agencies such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and the US Agency for International Development (USAID) play in stoking the so-called civil society, our own revolution is doomed.

We have also noted the current changes taking place in Cuba’s economy and will be undertaking a study tour to the country in order to properly understand these developments from firsthand experience. We have confidence that these changes will not compromise the fundamental principles of Socialism.

We also instruct the CEC to ensure that part of this should include conducting a study of the BRICS countries the Latin American countries with a view to gaining a deeper understanding of the political and economic developments that are currently taking place there.

Part of this task will include building campaign based relations with the trade union movement and parties of the left in the BRICS countries.

We note that despite massive injection of fictitious money, increasing rate of exploitation, austerity programmes, and sustained offensive against trade unions, mass retrenchments, mergers and acquisitions - global economic growth remains basically stagnant in the face of the lack of channels for productive and profitable investment and surplus absorption. In turn, this crisis-ridden trajectory of capitalism has plunged our planet into a morass of unprecedented ecological destruction. Never before in the history of humanity has our world come so close to obliteration.

Therefore, we emerge from this congress fully conscious of the fact that the balance of class forces internationally remains decisively in favour of monopoly capital. This is also reflected at the level of the world order, which despite the emergence of the China-led BRICS, NATO and G7 countries continue to enjoy strategic advantages of control of global financial markets, natural resources, advance technology, media and communication monopolies as well as the monopoly of weapons of mass destruction.

Despite all of this, we note that more and more people, especially workers in western imperialist countries, are increasingly challenging the dominant neo-liberal paradigm. Organised workers are increasingly gaining confidence to defend their jobs, public services and to fight against trade and investment agreements designed in favour of monopoly capital. Hence, as we move towards the affiliation of COSATU to WFTU, we remain committed to the realisation of our lofty ideal of worldwide unity of the organised workers. With all its limitations, we welcome the adoption of the Africa Vision 2063 Programme, on which we commit to work with the African trade union movement and other progressive forces, to ensure that it becomes a genuine programme of thoroughgoing democratic revolution in our continent.

Like much of Africa, the South African economy continues to suffer from the fall in commodity prices, weak demand from China and Europe and capital market volatility, including the sharp depreciation of the Rand, as a result of the prospects of interest rate hike in the USA. The persisting global capitalist crisis continues to heavily weigh down on the South African economy as reflected in the spectre of massive job-destruction and closures that is stalking mining and steel industries in particular. Whilst we appreciate the range of interventions undertaken in terms of the NGP and IPAP by the ANC government as presented to congress by the Minister of Economic Development, Ebrahim Patel, as COSATU we believe that much more must be done in addressing the crises of mass unemployment, poverty and increasing inequality.

Much more must be done in transforming the colonial structure of the South African economy and forging an industrialisation-led growth path. As Mao Zedong said, “colonial forms of capitalist exploitation transfer surplus value to the metropolis and hinder the development of productive forces.” Thus, congress calls on government to undertake more decisive interventions to stem the unfolding de-industrialisation and job losses from imports. Furthermore, congress calls on government to impose capital controls to stem the tide of capital flight, including the rejection of the SABMiller-AB Inberv merger. Thus, we reaffirm our policy framework, A New Growth Path towards Full-employment which places at the centre a comprehensive set of policy proposals for decent jobs, industrialisation, nationalisation, economic redistribution and regional integration.

We note that despite our call in 2013, supported by the SACP, for the “redrafting and fundamental overhaul of the core economic chapter of the NDP and the appreciation by the Alliance of the need for further engagement, the ANC government has, since last year, begun to implement elements of these, especially on macroeconomic policy. We view this as part of the hallmarks of Treasury’s unilateralism, as reflected in the introduction of the Employment Incentive Tax Act, the freezing of vacant posts in the public service, e-tolls, moves to introduce preservation of provident funds and many others.

Therefore, as COSATU, we resolve to file a Section 77 Notice urgently in the next few days before it can be passed into law . If necessary this action would be escalated into rolling mass action until this unilateralism is stopped. In this regard, we pledge to build on this year’s National Day of Action, to mobilise our members around the following issues:

  1. The neo-liberal macroeconomic policies that undermine industrialisation and job-creation;
  2. Retrenchments, outsourcing and casualization;
  3. Immediate engagement on a comprehensive social security system;
  4. Imposition wealth tax;
  5. Introduction of minimum wage;
  6. Banning of labour broking;
  7. Affordable, reliable, accessible and safe public transport and a stop to the expansion of the Gautrain service. This include the scrapping of e-tolls; and

We know that we cannot mount a successful counter offensive against imperialism, monopoly capital and threats inherently internal and within, if we do not have a strong organisation grounded within the workers. Our refuge is amongst the people. Our strength remains to be rooted amongst the toiling masses of our people.

On this year of the 30th anniversary of COSATU, congress reasserts our time-tested founding principles of one union, one industry, one country, one federation! Paid up membership, international worker solidarity, worker control, unity of workers, non-racialism and democratic centralism. From its founding congress, COSATU has remarkably grown from strength to strength across a wide-range of sectors of the economy, different strata of workers, in membership, organisationally and ideologically. Despite the shortcomings that congress identified, we remain the best organised and class conscious giant federation of the South African workers.

In 1985 at our launching Congress, we had a membership of 500 000 drawn from thirty-three (33) affiliates. At this 12th National Congress we have 1, 9 million members drawn from eighteen (18) affiliated unions.

Yet despite our phenomenal development since our founding congress , our lodestar of One Union, One Industry, One Country, One Federation! remains elusive.

In South Africa, we remain with a highly fragmented trade union movement, yet an overwhelming majority of workers are unorganised especially in the private sector. Hence for more than half of all the workers, their wage and conditions of work are solely determined by the employer. This is more so amongst the youth, women, community care workers, domestic workers and foreign nationals, who tend to make the bigger proportion of the vulnerable sections of the labour force. Indeed, congress directs all affiliates to develop and implement programmes targeting these categories of workers, programmes to increase membership and participation in our activities by coloured, Indian and white workers and programmes to improve our presence in sectors such as catering, wholesale, hotel, cleaning and private security.

Within our own ranks, we acknowledge that we are still far from consolidating our organisational power in terms of the implementation of our resolutions on mergers and building super-unions. Instead a few of our affiliates from time to time slide backward to a tendency of competing with others instead of practicing solidarity, of extending organisational scopes instead of merging with others and of poaching of the membership of others instead of recruiting scores of unorganised workers. Thus, congress sends a message to all affiliates of COSATU, that the South African workers are under siege in the face of escalating offensive by employers and the crisis of capitalism.

That the advanced component of these workers, which is found in our federation is itself on the receiving end of an unprecedented scale of an offensive by the bourgeois media, ultra-left forces and imperialism. Therefore, in the period ahead we are more than ever called upon to consolidate our unity and cohesion and to defend all our affiliates and membership base. We are called upon to build strong workplace organisation, build class consciousness and close the distance between our members, their union and leadership. In line with our principle of “one union, one industry”, all affiliates are called upon to stop extending scopes and poaching members of COSATU unions.

The consolidation of unity, cohesion and organisational power means that we must move with speed to implement the resolution of the 11th congress that was adopted by the February 2013 CEC on mergers and the demarcation of scopes. This we shall do as part of returning to the outcomes of our 2013 Collective Bargaining, Organising and Campaigns Conference, whose organisational tasks, combined with the resolutions of this 12th congress shall be part of the Organisational Building and Development Programme of our new medium-term strategic plan, building on what we have achieved in terms of the 2015 Plan.

We emerge from this congress more convinced than ever that our COSATU must remain grounded on the traditions of strong shop floor organisation and militant struggles for worker rights, collective bargaining and power; activism; democratic organisation controlled by workers and based on campaigns and mobilisation; incorporation of broader social issues and interests into our programme, thus building alliances with community organisations, with the political movement and with intellectuals, etc .

This programme shall be part of our Back to Basic Campaign. As our Special National Congress directed, this means that “in keeping with the true traditions of our federation, we will initiate a process of deeply looking at ourselves; we will study how affiliates and COSATU structures operate in practice. And that this must be with the view to subsequently elaborating and enriching the content of our Back to Basics perspective”. To ensure success, at the centre of this shall be the review of the effectiveness of our existing organisational machinery at all levels, with a view of establishing the kind of organisational engines and capacity of cadreship that would be best positioned to meet the tasks of the pillar of Organisational Building and Development Programme. This includes, the COSATU Locals as basic structures that are closest to members and that are indispensable in the mobilisation of members and in implementing the federation’s campaigns.

The 12th National Congress observed with concern that despite the advances made in the past 21 years, the high levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality remains unresolved and these affects blacks in general and Africans in particular. . The international trend of worsening unemployment and poverty reflects the reality in South Africa. We are angry that in our country we remain confronted with a reality that more than 7.6 million people are without employment. The South African economic policy is still based on the neo-liberal paradigm which remains dominant in driving government’s economic policy.

The neo-liberal economic principles and philosophies continue to dominate the practice and articulation of policy. This is based on a belief that growth must occur first, and then employment will follow. And that once employment increases, the distribution of income will improve. This is reflected in the persistent setting of growth targets as the primary focus, rather than targets for employment and income distribution.

It fails to address the colonial and apartheid fundamental contradictions that resulted in the white monopoly capital taking charge and ownership of the economic levers of powers while the black majority remains enslaved in waged labour. Our economy remains highly monopolised and foreign owned. It is still largely in the hands of a white minority. Unfortunately, this neo-liberal ideology has captured some elements within the state and the democratic movement, who though aware of the harsh but failed medicine of neo-liberalism, have still gone ahead to impose it on society.

Neo-liberalism by nature is contradictory. It promotes both political pluralism and authoritarianism on questions of economic policy and management.

Neo-liberalism survives and thrives under conditions of low-intensity democracy and insulates political leaders from popular pressure so that they can drive un-popular economic policies.

It is against this background that those deployed by the movement in government have over the years abandoned the people driven and people centred approach to development. It is in this context that the structures of the movement remain in disarray with the focus being on narrow electoral processes.

It is unacceptable that when we ask to be given a comprehensive social security and retirement reform discussion paper, which government has failed to deliver for more than ten years, we get given the Taxation Laws Amendment Act. And when we take this process to NEDLAC government represented by the National Treasury abandons the engagements to pursue its planned retirement reforms unilaterally.

We want to reiterate that this arrogant act of provocation by government represented by the National Treasury will get an appropriate and equal response from the workers. Workers will fight any attempts to impose the compulsory preservation of our hard earned deferred wages.

We want to say here and now that there will be no compulsory preservation or any other imposed reforms for us and about us without us, on our watch.

We will spare no effort to stop this tyranny and ill placed overconfidence by the neo liberal hard liners in government concentrated in the National Treasury.

No government has a right to unilaterally decide for workers, as to how and when they should spend their retirement savings. These savings are part of worker’s hard-earned salaries and should be accessible to the workers, as and when they need them in particular in the absence of comprehensive social security.

It is clear that with all these challenges as the working class and particularly as COSATU cannot afford the luxury of continuing to fight against each other.

We therefore declare that from this Congress we will stop fighting amongst ourselves and direct our energies and resources to heighten our struggle and consolidate our unity against our primary class enemies, the white monopoly capital. This congress has set the tone that we must continue with the tradition of robust and frank engagement regarding our organisation and the struggles of the working class and to do so using the platform of our constitutional structures and within the parameters of our constitution

We accept that the Alliance remains the only vehicle available to advance a second more radical phase of the National Democratic Revolution. Alliance resolutions which advance the interests of the working class only remains on paper and are not translated to funded government programmes. Our voice must matter in the Alliance. It is not acceptable that when we call for the reviewal of the employment incentive act or the youth wage subsidy no one wants to listen!

We reiterate our call for a total ban of labour broking and re-affirm that will intensify our struggle on the ground for a final push for the total elimination of this modern day slavery.

We want an Alliance which collectively develops policy in line with our vision in the Freedom charter, which collectively monitors implementation of policy, which collectively decides on deployment, and which can call ministers to account.

We want an Alliance where partners are treated as equals!

We want a reconfigured Alliance which is at the centre of driving the National Democratic Revolution!

We want an Alliance which practices the Mass Line as the “primary method of revolutionary leadership of the masses. The mass line means to start with the diverse ideas of the masses, and return the concentrated ideas to the masses. This is also known as the method of “from the masses, to the masses”.

We want the Alliance to be led by the ANC whose perspective is based on an understanding that “in contrast to many old-style nationalist movements in Africa, we believe that there can be no true national liberation without social emancipation.. To postpone advocacy of this perspective until the first stage of democratic power has been achieved is to risk dominance within our revolution by purely nationalist forces which may see themselves as replacing the white exploiters at the time of the people’s victory”.

We want the alliance to be led by an ANC which understands that the strategic objectives of the National Democratic Revolution is to resolve three interrelated contradictions of racial domination , gender oppression and class exploitation . These interrelate d contradictions have not been resolved yet and therefore the entirety of the congress movement have not yet arrived!

Our shared understanding is that the NDR is our most direct and uninterrupted route to Socialism. In consolidating the NDR by strengthening people’s power in action we lay a solid foundation for a Socialist society. The tasks of the NDR do not work against a possibility for socialism. Hence we commit to struggle against the notion that the main task of the NDR is to merely manage the three interrelated primary contradictions of racial domination, gender oppression and class without ensuring qualitative advances for the working class and the poor.

The misplaced notion that all our movement stands for whilst it is non capitalist is to consolidate a capitalist path must fearlessly be fought and defeated.

There is neither ‘Chinese wall’ nor contradiction between the task to construct the so called “National Democratic Society” and the struggle for a Socialist South Africa. In the same way as the Bourgeoisie Society which emerged from the Feudal Society, the Socialist and communist society will emerge from the Bourgeoisie Society as we have seen in many parts of the world. As comrade Mao put it that “Changes in society are due chiefly to the development of the internal contradictions in society, that is, the contradiction between the productive forces and the relations of production, the contradiction between classes and the contradiction between the old and the new; it is the development of these contradictions that pushes society forward and gives the impetus for the supersession of the old society by the new”.

We will fight to have an Alliance which is conscious that the primary task in this phase of our transition is to resolve the colonial and apartheid contradictions based on radical economic transformation.

We want an alliance which is led by the ANC that understands and accept in practice the leading role of the working class as a primary motive force in the National Democratic Revolution. We want an ANC which accept and understand that the working class has the enduring organisational power, occupies a strategic location within the productive force, suffers the most from both exploitation and domination, and has made the most sacrifices to advance the revolution.

We want the Alliance to be led by an ANC which accept and understand that as the organised detachment of the working class, located strategically at the point of production, we are not just an interest group or just another NGO in the revolution but we constitute the most powerful motive force of our revolution.

We shall act consciously to ensure that the leading role of the working class in our revolution is won on the ground through visible campaigns based on our political and Socio- Economic demands.

We will go beyond seeking to secure agreements in meetings about the content of radical economic transformation but the content of radical economic transformation shall be defined through heated struggles based on our political and socio - economic demands.

We shall work to ensure that we strengthen the South African Communist Party to lead the struggle for socialism.

We note the right wing offensive which has been directed against the leadership of our communist party as an attempt to mute and weaken the SACP. We will defend our communist party and its leadership with everything we have!

We, the delegates to this 12th National Congress hereby declare that ideologically we remain a militant and radical trade union movement that wants the country to move towards a socialism.

The Alliance remains a critical vehicle towards the attainment of the NDR. We will defend the Alliance with all that we have and will ensure that it remains united and coherent and that it must advance our needs as the workers.

It is in this regard we want to call on the SACP to expedite the process of its commission to look into contesting state power in the very near future. The SACP remains the political vehicle of the working class and the workers in particular, it is incumbent upon us to defend it against the emerging anti-communist sentiments and attacks on the General Secretary by a faction within the movement.

Concerned that the ANC faces internal factional battles and fixation with leadership contest, as the strategic ally, COSATU calls on the ANC to maintain its established tradition and practice regarding succession of leadership.

Building on the spirit of our Special National Congress with regard to the scourge of business unionism, we shall systematically develop binding policy frameworks, which must address challenges arising from our investment arms, union-linked retirement funds, procurement of goods and services and fund raising.

In the immediate period ahead, we undertake that our organisation building programmes and campaigns shall include:

  • Political Programme
    • To wage campaigns on the ground and to work with the Alliance partners to strengthen and reconfigure the Alliance to drive the National Democratic Revolution
    • To strengthen the socialist axis under the leadership of the SACP to advance in a programmatic way the struggle for socialism. This will also include participating in the SACP process towards a decision on how it will relate to electoral politics in the future guided. by our 9th Congress resolution and the SACPs 12th National Congress and its Special National Congress resolution in this regard
    • As part of the task to develop political consciousness, we will run joint programme with the SACP focusing in ideological training of our leaders and members.
    • We will make resources available to mobilise for the overwhelming victory of the ANC in the forthcoming local government election
    • To openly contest and defend the centrality of the working class as the primary motive force in the NDR. This will also include openly contesting and defending the working class biasness and the mass based character of the ANC through visible programmes on the ground.
    • To develop programmes aimed at linking mass power and state power
    • Fight against the killing of the Police and attacks directed at public servants : We have noted with anger the continued killing of the police and merciless attacks directed at public servants and civilians which happens with impunity. We have seen nurses and teachers raped and physically attacked at work and in our view all these are intended to undermine the state and the security establishment of the country . We are worried that the state security capacity continues to be dwarfed by the capacity of private security firms who are three times more resourced and more armed than the state security agencies. What is even more worrying is that these are foreign owned and remain unregulated . We will heighten our campaign in defence of the police and public servants. We call on government to impose strict regulatory measured against private security firms. Police killings should be treated as treason!
  • On Imperialism
    • As COSATU we pledge to work with the Alliance and other progressive and internationalist formations in our country, to embark on mass protest actions to oppose the USA-led wars of regime-change in the middle-east, Latina America and Africa.
    • This would include engagement with fraternal trade unions in countries that are affected, in order to develop closer relations and to understand the concrete realities in their countries.
  • On Latin America
    • COSATU undertakes to strengthen our bilateral relations with the Cuban trade union federation, CTC and its affiliates. Thus, as part of our solidarity with the Cuban revolution, we shall continue to mount protest actions against the criminal economic blockade imposed by the USA on Cuba.
    • Similarly, we shall establish relationship with the Venezuelan trade union movement with the view of developing a campaign in support of the Bolivarian revolution and its defence against US sponsored ploy of regime change.
  • On Neo-liberalism
    • We note that global monopoly capital is using multilateral and bilateral trade agreements and partnerships to impose and lock countries within the Neoliberal development framework in order to prevent alternative development paths.

    Therefore, as COSATU we shall work with the broader international trade union movement to fight for the transformation of multilateral institutions such as the WTO and against all such trade agreements and partnerships.

  • Transforming the Labour Market
    • Strengthening Workplace Struggles: Strengthening workers capacity to take up work place struggles. This must be done through amongst others exposing corruption at the workplace , acting against racism in the workplace , Listening and acting on issues raised by workers , a focus on women’s struggles in the workplace , making progressive labour laws serve workers etc.
    • Defending our hard-won labour rights: Part of this should include campaigns against threats on our right to strike and to defend collective Bargaining and demand expansion of centralised bargaining across sectors, to attack and call for the withdrawal of the Taxation Amendment Act of 2013 which is aimed at taking away the right of workers to decide on how to spend their deferred salaries.
    • National Day of Action : to ensure mmobilisation towards annual national National Day of Action focusing on the National Minimum wage ,transformation of the economy , , abolition of Apartheid wage structure , transformation in education etc.
    • Ban Labour Brokers: We shall heighten the campaign for the total banning of labour brokers now!. This campaign shall include our demand on Equal pay for work of equal value! We will not accept any form of blackmail including convenient and right wing interpretation of the constitution which places the right to trade above labour rights. Labour brokers are not involved in any form of productive activity nor do they add any value in the creation of jobs. No economy shall grow on the basis of slavery!
    • Campaign against Youth Wage Subsidy: to demand the scrapping of the Youth Employment Incentives in favour of a comprehensive youth employment strategy. Noting that majority of Youth Wage Subsidy funds have gone to labour brokers. COSATU must file a section 77 at NEDLAC declaring its opposition to the youth wage subsidy and calling for its end .
  • Transformation in Education
    • We applaud SASCO for leading the struggle for Free Education in South Africa. This is the struggle which must be taken to its logical conclusion. In this regard working with the PYA, the Education Alliance, and the federation will convene a meeting to take forward the broad based struggles on the education crisis and the realisation of free education. This will be linked to a programme focusing on the transformation of basic education and the expansion of vocational education and training.
    • The Department of basic Education must respect the agreement it reached with educators to postpone the implementation of Annual National Assessments. We will work with SADTU to strengthen and heighten the campaign to reject the Annual National Assessments (ANA) in their current form, because they are not in the best interests of learners and will do nothing to improve the quality of education. At the centre of this campaign shall be to force employers to respect collective bargaining. The Department of Basic Education has joined the national treasury in the art of displaying arrogance against workers demands and to undermine existing collection agreements. We call on the DBE to reverse their decision to proceed with the implementation of Annual National Assessments in the current form.
    • To convene an urgent education summit which will on amongst others address issues relating to the realisation of free education, transformation of the curriculum, availability of resources in our schools etc.
  • Fighting Corruption in our ranks and in Society Generally
    • To lead a campaign exposing corruption in the private and public sectors and call for decisive punitive action against perpetrators. The current framework is not hard hitting enough against offenders in the public sector .It allows business to pay their way out and go away with murder as in the cases of collusion as exposed by the competition commission. We demand the strengthening of the legal framework so that responsible company executives can face prosecution.
    • Building on the spirit of our Special National Congress with regard to the scourge of business unionism, we shall systematically develop binding policy frameworks, which must address challenges arising from our investment arms, union-linked retirement funds, procurement of goods and services and fund raising.
  • Struggle for radical Economic Transformation
    • We will launch a radical campaign against privatisation which goes beyond section 77 based protests but a a protest action which will include rolling mass action.
    • We call for the convening of an Alliance Economic Summit to discuss issues relating to policy differences in the Alliance including on the concerns we raised with the SACP on the economic and labour Market sections in the NDP.
    • Launch a campaign demanding the implementation of the National Health Insurance now!


Each one of our affiliates commits to deploy all resources, time and energy towards the implementation of these resolutions.

This declaration and the resolutions taken by this 12th session of the workers parliament shall remain the compass and a guide to action for every affiliate, every shop steward, every organiser and every member in every workplace,

We call on all our members to rally behind the directives contained in this declaration and the corresponding Resolutions.