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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Speeches

Address By Zwelinzima Vavi, To The ANC Victory Celebrations

23 April 2009, Johannesburg

Today’s historic victory for our revolutionary movement – the African National Congress – is dedicated to its greatest leaders – Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Chris Hani. It is also a victory for our late 2nd Deputy President, Violet Seboni.

Our victory also represents a funeral for COPE and all the other fish-and-chips political formations. Our people have rejected negative politics. They don’t like negative campaigning. Only people who are truthful knew who was going to win. God listens to the majority and not to the spiteful elite who are hell-bent on clinging onto positions.

To us this campaign started in 2003 after Bulelani Ngcuka held an off-the-record briefing with selected black editors to launch a media trial and win public opinion, instead of winning his case in court.

It gathered speed when he declared that he had prima facie evidence against Comrade Jacob Zuma but not a winnable case. It gathered more momentum after the unfair dismissal of Comrade Jacob Zuma by former President Thabo Mbeki. The Polokwane conference was just one of the stations on the route to the union buildings. The COSATU General Secretary said that Jacob Zuma was an unstoppable tsunami, for which he was ridiculed and lampooned. Today he has the last laugh.

Today’s result is a vote for decent jobs, for healthcare, education and rural development, and a vote against crime and corruption. It is a vote for a strong tripartite alliance and for strong ANC branches on the ground.

The Western Cape result is disappointing but not surprising. Back in November surveys suggested that we were left with a mere 18% of the vote. The ANC had been deeply hurt by infighting and factional battles that have run for five years.

But following the very good work by the COSATU unions and the ANC, particularly those deployed by the NEC, we turned the situation around. We now expect to get double that 18% support.

This has been the mother of all election campaigns! The ANC and its allies have faced the combined opposition of much of the private and public media, and many institutions and individuals in society, who seem determined to protect and entrench minority interests, without understanding that unless the majority move forward, our country cannot prosper.

But our people, particularly in working class communities, saw through this barrage of attacks, misinformation and lies, and have come out as never before to protect and advance our movement.

Whilst we celebrate our victory, however, we know that much more still need to be done. Too many of our people remain unemployed. Too many of the employed are in temporary and casualised jobs or employed through the labour broking system. Our country’s wealth is still unfairly distributed. Too many live in poverty, while a tiny minority control most of the country’s resources.

The commitments the ANC has made in its progressive elections manifesto has invigorated a new spirit of hope and determination in all of us workers. We are confident that the ANC will ensure that these commitments are taken forward, and we will mobilise to see that this happens. The pessimism that was beginning to set in over the last 10 years has been replaced by a new hope that workers’ priorities have been made national priorities.

We need to continue to rally around the ANC and prepare for the next phase - ensuring that the pledges contained in the Manifesto are translated into an implementable programme to radically improve our people’s lives.

We need to see that the economic policies in the Manifesto are implemented vigorously, to counter the impact of the economic crisis on our people and ensure that we all share in the fruits of our labour. We need to translate the incredible energy and mobilisation we have seen in this campaign into a mass movement for transformation to propel our country to greater heights.

COSATU wishes to thank its members for voting in defence of the revolution and for continuing the fundamental transformation of our society. We thank the thousands of out shop stewards and activists who worked so hard to ensure this victory.