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Central Exec  |  Resolutions

Resolutions of the COSATU 1st Central Committee

Held on the 19 - 21 November 2001
At Essepark - Kempton Park

Table of Contents

1. Part One : The Political Situation
1.1 The NDR and the Alliance
1.2 The ANC Briefing Notes
1.3 Cooperation between the ANC and NNP
2. Part Two : Organisational Renewal
2.1 The Evolution of COSATU and the Political context
2.2 Restructuring the Federation
2.3 Public Sector


2.4 Form and Character of the State
2.5 Tripartite Alliance
2.6 Investment Companies
3. Part Three Emergency Resolutions
3.1 Higher Education
3.2 Violence against Women and Children
3.3 Swaziland
3.4 South Korea
3.5 Malaysia

Part I. The Political Situation

The NDR and the Alliance


  1. The recent debates in the Alliance, which reflect a disturbing tendency to use political labels in an attempt to suppress debate.
  2. The dissemination of the ANCís Briefing Notes, which suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of COSATUís concerns about national economic development policies.
  3. The socio-economic crisis confronting our country, the working class and our members as a result of massive and persistent job losses combined with cuts in government spending on basic services, aggravated by privatisation. This means the working class is paying a heavy price and bearing the burden of the transition.
  4. South Africa remains a highly unequal society with the majority of people living in poverty. Economic policy must address the social deficit left by apartheid and also address rural poverty.


  1. The greatest challenge facing the NDR today is the restructuring of the economy to empower the majority, by
    1. Expanding employment;
    2. Developing more broad-based ownership and control in the economy, in particular social ownership and control including through co-operatives; and
    3. Ending discrimination on the basis of race, gender and class.
  2. The election of a democratic government opened a new qualitative phase of the NDR. The democratic movement must use state power to deepen and advance social transformation.
  3. The first seven years of democracy have seen many important gains for the working class, including but not limited to a new democratic constitution, new labour laws, provision of basic service and infrastructure. However, these modest advances are severely constrained by conservative economic policies.
  4. The ruling class remains largely unchanged, but there is an active process of class formation within the formerly oppressed manifest in the phenomenal growth of the black middle strata and a steadily growing black bourgeoisie. The challenge is to ensure that the democratic government continues to serve the interest of the forces that fought against apartheid, whilst remaining in the main biased to the working class.
  5. The Alliance, based on mass mobilisation, is the only vehicle that can bring about the transformation of our society and economy to take forward the NDR. In order to influence society, the working class must multiply its allies and will from time to time form tactical issue-based alliances. These alliances are not in contradiction to the Tripartite Alliance, but seek to win support for working class programmes.
  6. Historically, the ANC has always seen strong contestation over policies, and the current debates largely reflect this contestation. The key problems arise out of specific government policies that were never discussed within the Alliance.
  7. Attempts to impose strategic shifts in policy without prior discussion runs counter to the culture of democracy that has characterised the movement. There must be an open debate about how we carry forward the NDR in the current environment, what tactical/strategic shifts need to be made, and the duration of such shifts.
  8. The current environment of mistrust and lack of open debate is not conducive for open and constructive debates. There is an urgent need to repair relations within the alliance.
  9. The NDR is not in contradiction to the struggle for socialism, and it must lay the foundation for socialism by building a strong public sector, de-commodifying basic needs and rolling back the market.
  10. Despite the many challenges the working class remain strong and highly mobilised. It is however undergoing restructuring with the growth of unemployment and non-standard forms of employment.


  1. To work tirelessly to strengthen the Alliance.
  2. The Alliance must urgently address the problems of unemployment and job losses and cuts in government service, which impose severe consequences on our members and communities. For this reason, we must launch an open and constructive debate on national economic development policies, focusing on how to attain full employment.
  3. The Alliance Summit must take place at the latest by the end of January 2002. It must ensure
    1. Open, constructive and broad-based discussion of key development strategies and Alliance protocol. In particular it must address long standing areas of disagreement, including on economic policy; aspects of social policy; and the divergent conceptualisations of the Alliance, its role and relationship to governance.
    2. Development of a common programme of action, setting key directions for development policies and establishing joint campaigns.
  4. To maintain and develop interactions within the Alliance on specific areas of work and in the regions, in the context of an Alliance programme of action.
  5. To build internal organisation via a process of organisational renewal, and encourage all our members and leaders to swell the ranks and build the structures of the ANC and the SACP.
  6. To work towards a Peopleís Economic Summit in April 2002 in order to develop new approaches to socio-economic development. The Peopleís Summit must take place within the context of an Alliance programme developed at the Alliance Summit. It must lay a firm foundation for an Economic Summit to develop national consensus on economic development. The CEC/EXCO should review progress toward the Peopleís Summit.
  7. COSATU remains committed to its policies and programmes, including the general strike against privatisation if necessary. The CEC/EXCO is mandated to decide the timing of the strike.
  8. To convene a socialist conference to take forward the Seventh National Congress resolutions.
  9. As the leading detachment of the working class, our programmes should seek to undermine and challenge the monopoly of capital in order to assert working class hegemony. We resolve to redouble our efforts to deepen and advance the NDR against colonial oppression. In particular, the NDR must address racial, class and gender oppression, and lay the foundation for a socialist society.

The ANC Briefing Notes


  1. The basis for the Alliance has always been:
    1. Internal democracy and accountability to members;
    2. Common commitment to the National Democratic Revolution.
  2. The ANCís Briefing Notes confuse principled disagreement on social and economic policies, especially on privatisation and HIV/AIDS, with a challenge to the integrity of the Alliance. They propagate the erroneous view that the working class seeks to destroy the ANC and replace it with a workers party of one form or another.
  1. Each component of the Alliance has a right to analyse and critique each partner in a principled and disciplined fashion.
  2. The Briefing Notes seek to impose a conservative consensus within the ANC and vilify those who hold a different view. In the long run this will change the character of the movement, which has always encouraged the expression of divergent views.
  3. This is an attempt to divide the COSATU and attack its leadership, which will fail.
  4. The threat to the revolution is posed by capital and policies that weaken the working class.
Reaffirming:Comrade Thabo Mbekiís statement at COSATUís Inaugural Central Committee, that: "We must not fall victim to the easy temptation to label one another as this or that school of thought, and thus close the dialogue amongst ourselves. "These days some comrades seem to think that the attachment of political labels, like the labelling of different kinds of beer is an honourable revolutionary occupation. When we are supposed to think and analyse as a new and complex situation we all face demands, we resort to throwing around swear words and all of us know that to swear at somebody is to look for a fight, not a discussionÖ"


  1. To reaffirm COSATUís support for the leadership role of the ANC, while retaining the right to protest specific government policies.
  2. That the ANCís leadership role must be based on open discussions to reach basic agreement on important policies, in the context of an Alliance programme of action.
  3. The working class must ensure that the ANC remains a broad movement unifying our people around a progressive platform expressed in the RDP.
  4. To support the right of the Alliance partners to analyse the constraints we face separately and together, without questioning the good faith of the leadership of the Alliance leadership.
  5. To engage the Briefing Notes to deal with distortions and misrepresentations of COSATUís positions. COSATU must resist provocation and remain level headed when engaging in these debates. Our revolutionary responsibility is to engage in a manner that provides leadership and to resist being pushed into a cul de sac.
  6. To embark on a systematic campaign to inform our members about the policies and decisions of the Federation, and to address the confusion caused by the Briefing Notes.
  7. To defend the positions of the Federation and its leadership.

1.3 Cooperation between the ANC and the NNP

  1. The collapse of the Democratic Alliance between the Democratic Party and the New National Party (NNP).
  2. The talks between the ANC and the NNP about possible cooperative governance at least in the Western Cape.
  3. The ANC and the IFP currently exercise co-operative governance at national and in KwaZulu Natal. This cooperation has created a peaceful environment.
  1. The collapse of the Democratic Alliance creates a crisis of governance in the Western Cape since there is no party with sufficient majority to form a government. The ANC is the single biggest party in the Western Cape. This gives the democratic movement a historical opportunity to transform Western Cape racial politics into a non-racial discourse.
  2. If co-operation is based on a progressive platform, it may wrest control of the Western Cape from conservative forces and address the plight of the working class.
  3. The NNP is still largely entrenched in its conservative politics and on the brink of collapse. In post-apartheid South Africa it has formed opportunistic alliances to avoid its ultimate collapse.
  4. As a result, the NNP is looking for cooperation with the ANC not because of a sudden change of political stance but to prolong its life.
  5. The crisis in the Democratic Alliance provides an opportunity to organise the Indian, Coloured and White workers and working class communities. Further, it weakens the possibility of rightwing counterrevolution and isolates the most reactionary forces in South Africa.
  6. The ANC has a responsibility to enter into co-operation on the basis of its principles and on an agreed platform for governance that will have real benefits for the working class.
  1. To support the cooperation of the ANC and the NNP, at least in the Western Cape, because it will give the ANC access to power.
  2. A progressive socio-economic programme drawing on the agreed Tripartite Alliance programmes must form the basis of the co-operation to address the plight of the working class.
  3. To call on the Tripartite Alliance to discuss the proposed co-operation, its platform and implications in the long run.
  4. The CEC should continuously review the state of affairs of the cooperation with the NNP.

Part II. Organisational Renewal

2.1 The Evolution of COSATU and the Political Context



  1. We must use our understanding of history and the current political and socio-economic environment as the context of the organisational review.
  2. Our vision for socialism should guide restructuring of the organisation to meet this vision.
  3. The organisational review is not technical but political in fulfilling the task of building socialism now.
  1. The Organisational Review must take with it COSATUís rich and proud traditions. We reassert our character as a revolutionary trade union movement involved in the broader task of social transformation, which cannot be restricted to shopfloor issues.
  2. We reaffirm the following principles:
    1. Industrial, not craft, unionism, with demarcation aimed at forging the unity of workers in each industry. For this reason, the Federation will adhere to and foster the principle of one industry, one union.
    2. Working class solidarity. We have not always shown solidarity across sectors, including the unorganised sections of the working class. The Federation must support a discussion on how to strengthen this aspect in particular. There is much work that has to be done between and within affiliates to build solidarity as well as international solidarity.
    3. Internal democracy. We must ensure that workers take ownership of the decisions of the Federation and its unions. In giving concrete expression to this principle, COSATU must give maximum concentration to strengthening shopfloor leadership and shop stewardsí education so that workers can grapple with issues, no matter how complex and slow the pace of decision making.
    4. Working class internationalism. The battle of all working people is against the exploitation by the bosses internationally. We reaffirm our commitment to fighting global exploitation and supporting all other workers in their quest to defeat exploitation. Our international work must support our ongoing struggle for jobs, against poverty, and ensure that we strengthen each other from our different experiences.
    5. Non-racialism and non-sexism. The struggle against apartheid colonial exploitation was about eradication of racial domination, class exploitation and gender oppression. COSATU should work to organise all workers, irrespective of race or gender.
    6. One country, one Federation. COSATU must reaffirm its commitment to the unity of workers in South Africa unconditionally. The division of workers only serves the bosses. We must continue to engage FEDUSA, NACTU and the independent unions so that we maximise the bargaining capacity of workers. In these engagements, we must be guided by our own principles. In particular, in working to form the new national Federation, we must use strategies around political policy like those used in the formation of COSATU. The unity between federations must be based on campaigns that unite our constituency. The principle of unity must also be pursued internationally.
    7. Workersí control. Workers are the backbone of unions and should control the affairs of the unions. Worker control means that ordinary members ultimately determine the basic strategies and decisions of the unions. In the long run, workers must control the state and own the means of production.
    8. Informal and atypical workers. COSATU must heighten its drive to recruit atypical workers such as domestic workers, taxi drivers, workers in small and micro enterprise, and so on.
    9. Paid up membership: paid up membership is critical to secure the resources that enable the union movement to be independent.


2.2 Restructuring the Federation


  1. Head Office capacity must be employed to build the regions.
  2. We must enhance the role of the Federation in the core activities of unions, which are collective bargaining, service to members and recruitment.
  3. We need to revitalise our shop stewards to remain the bedrock of our movement by investing in their education and empowering them ideologically so that they are not vulnerable to corruption, bribery and co-option, especially in the light of the changing legal, social and economic environment.



  1. We must focus on mass education for membership.
  2. Affiliates and COSATU must allocate more resources toward servicing membership.
  3. We must build the capacity of shop stewards to deal with workplace restructuring.
  4. Centralised bargaining is important, but it should not disarm workers so that they cannot engage at the local level to improve their conditions.

2.3. Public Sector:


  1. The growth of the public sector represents a positive development in the history of our trade union movement. Strong unions are important for strong public sector.


  1. Public sector workers must have the same rights as other workers. All spheres of the state must open space for engagement and respect the right to strike. During these actions, the public sector unions must actively mobilise and educate communities about their struggle.
  2. We dedicate ourselves to a campaign to defend the public sector as an instrument of change that must be given adequate resources.
  3. There must be a systematic transformation of the bureaucracy and improvement in service delivery. The public sector unions must embark on campaigns to highlight areas where there is a collapse of service.

2.4. Form and character of the state

  1. There must be ongoing debate on the characterisation of the state.

2.5. The Tripartite Alliance

  1. While the Alliance needs to be strengthened, its strength is dependent on the shared perspective on transformation.


  1. The Alliance cannot and should not be a crisis management system, but should have a programme for transformation so that we can minimise the problems and have a strategy to manage disagreements politically.

2.6 Investment Companies

  1. There must be a comprehensive evaluation of the operations of the investment companies.
  2. The result of the evaluation must be submitted to the CEC for discussion.

Organising in the New Millennium


  1. That worker control must continuously be strengthened, and that substantial variations exist between unions in this regard.
  2. Given the overall attack on the labour movement, worker control and strengthening of shop stewards and other cadre are particularly important.
  3. Affiliates must engage in a more active debate on ways to improve service and co-ordinate their work.
  4. New affiliates face special challenges and require more support.
  5. COSATU must support affiliates without developing a dependency syndrome.
  1. The union movement needs to go back to basics, based on analysis of old and new needs. Revolutionary trade unionism must involve new mechanisms to deepen worker control, including workplace organisation based on democratic practices based on practical analysis of problems. Members must be able to participate actively in all decisionmaking, in order to improve their confidence and understanding.
  2. COSATU must develop strategies to counter attacks on workers. We need to reinforce our own ideological stance in response to the hostile balance of forces that attempts to disarm our comrades politically. We need to locate local issues in the national and international context. We must work consistently to strengthen links to our communities.
  3. We need to ensure that quantitative growth is matched by qualitative improvements in capacity, service and cadres. In terms of cadre:
    1. All the affiliates must reflect on the meaning of cadreship and what we require from shop stewards. The discussion in the Organisational Review Report is too negative.
    2. We need to improve training for organisers in order to deal with challenge of increasingly sophisticated management.
    3. We must fight against careerism amongst officials and office bearers.
    4. We need to do more to strengthen the second tier of leadership, such as regional office bearers.
  4. The union movement must eradicate corruption and patronage wherever it emerges.
  5. Comrades must respect and support each other in a spirit of comradeship and collectivism. Gender and womenís issues must be developed and sustained as an integral part of our movement. They are not subordinate to, but complement and reinforce, the concepts of class solidarity and class consciousness.
  6. The Federation must do more to communicate the strengths and successes of the affiliates and COSATU as a whole.
  7. An honest profiling of affiliates is needed to build the organisation. We need to do more to contextualise and co-ordinate improvements in service in the different sectors. Slogans must translate into the reality of transformation. The issue of building working class power using our victories and limitations remains a key challenge.
  8. As part of the next phase of organisational review effort leading up to the Eighth National Congress, all affiliates must review their systems and resourcing for organisers and shop stewards.
    1. COSATU will assist by providing an evaluation framework, and if necessary NALEDI will support the process. COSATU will also support a Federation-wide survey of membersí expectations and understanding of union work.
    2. Based on this analysis, the affiliates can define ways to improve service to members, and how COSATU can help. They should amongst others explore the possibility of sharing offices and even organisers in smaller towns, in order to provide better service at a lower cost.
  9. For its part, COSATU must develop a more informed and strategic approach to meeting affiliatesí needs in terms of education programme, campaign materials and policy frameworks. In the next few years its support for organising should focus on the following aspects:
    1. Recruitment in difficult sectors.
    2. Co-ordination of bargaining strategies across sectors.
    3. Implementation in the workplace of gains made at the policy level in terms of labour laws, skilled development, womenís rights, pensions and health safety.
    4. Negotiation around sectoral transformation and industrial strategy.
    5. Consolidating sectoral unions.
  10. COSATU should systematically explore ways for unions to support each other during negotiations and strikes, including secondary strikes, boycotts and demonstrations. It should develop realistic proposals for strike funds at both Federation and affiliate level.
  11. COSATU should set up
    1. A system to monitor and evaluate developments in shop floor labour relations, including strikes, negotiations, and the activities of the CCMA and bargaining councils.
    2. A national database of shop stewards to facilitate distribution of material and education and support regional and local organising.


The Living Wage Campaign

  1. The Living Wage is under attack.
  2. Affiliates must encourage worker solidarity. Our autonomy as unions must not get in the way of our broader objectives.
  1. COSATU needs to do more to co-ordinate collective bargaining, through the development of broad strategies as well as co-ordination and sharing of experiences across sectors and between affiliates. To this end it must revive the Living Wage Campaign. The duty to bargain at sectoral level remains the responsibility of the affiliates.
  2. COSATU should hold a bargaining conference or a special focus on bargaining at the Central Executive Committee between Congresses. The conference will set minimum demands and co-ordinate solidarity across the affiliates. In particular, it will
    1. Set targets related to implementation of policies, strategies on HIV/AIDS, meeting womenís needs, and basic wages and conditions. It should also set targets for conditions for shop stewards, especially access to computers and communications, and time off.
    2. Link workplace negotiations to our work on social protection.
    3. Set frameworks for dealing with restructuring, including privatisation, outsourcing, contracting out and mergers, as well as helping to drive engagements on sectoral strategies through initiatives such as sector summits.
  3. COSATU sectors must develop joint bargaining strategies and strengthen solidarity across affiliates.
  4. The CEC should evaluate the state of collective bargaining by June each year and develop solidarity between affiliates. COSATUís Organising Unit should work with NALEDI to set up a database on affiliatesí settlements and analyse multi-term agreements. Affiliates must submit their settlements to the database.
  5. Affiliates and COSATU must use the Employment Conditions Commission to support and organise vulnerable sectors.
  6. There must be a campaign to support bargaining councils and to defend these centralised forums against attacks by employers. We need to entrench the principle of proportional representation in all bargaining councils, starting by gaining the support of the Minister of Labour for defence of Bargaining Councils.
  7. The CCMA cannot privatise its work. COSATU and affiliates must challenge efforts to accredit private agencies, which have the effect of privatising CCMA or bargaining councils dispute resolution.
  8. We need to do more to contest the legal framework of liquidation and bankruptcy, which is currently the easiest route to unemployment.

0. Education

  1. Education must focus on:
    1. Political education;
    2. Training shop stewards and organisers, including induction courses;
    3. Staff development in terms of Skills Development Act.
    4. Management training for leadership, including personnel and financial management;
    5. Socio-economic policy.
  2. All affiliates shall:
    1. Systematically develop capacity building programmes,
    2. Ensure on-going political education
    3. Dedicate 10 per cent of their budgets to education personnel and programmes
    4. Access SETA and Department of Labour funds for union education.
  3. COSATU must ensure appropriate support for education in new and weaker unions.
  4. COSATU Education Unit should develop ways to monitor educational work and assess its impact. In January each year, COSATU Education should conduct annual census of education delivered by affiliates. Affiliates should submit monthly reports to the COSATU Education Unit, covering attendance by gender, date of the training, place and duration of training, and the courses that were delivered.
  5. COSATU and the affiliates must engage with Ditsela programmes and play a more active role in setting Ditselaís agenda, without weakening union education in the broader sense. In addition, COSATUís Education Unit must work with Ditsela to develop courses to improve the competencies of union educators.
  6. COSATU and affiliates must improve co-ordination of the SETA process.
  7. COSATU and the affiliates must accelerate the development of proposals for accreditation of union education and present them at the appropriate forum for discussions.
  8. The Federation needs to take forward the setting up of the Chris Hani Institute.
  9. Tension between COSATU and the KwaZulu Natal Workersí College is detrimental to union education. There must be a speedy resolution of this dispute.
Recruitment Noting:
  1. Recruitment and service are inextricably linked.
  2. We need a bigger, more consistent and better focused effort on recruitment, linked to ensuring service to members.
  1. All affiliates must make a stronger political commitment to recruitment. We must target 100 000 new members a year. In addition, current membership levels must be sustained.
  2. COSATU and its affiliates must dedicate at least 1 per cent of the budget to recruitment, not including personnel costs. Affiliates must support each other and share resources around recruitment on the basis of cartels.
  3. COSATU and the affiliates must do more to evaluate recruitment and service and find ways to improve it, especially by developing more targeted and specific recruitment plans.
    1. There should be a barometer to measure and provide effective service.
    2. COSATU needs to play a pro-active role in developing and evaluating recruitment plans.
    3. Potential areas for growth must be analysed. Specific targets need to be set for each affiliate following thorough analysis of potential areas of growth.
  4. Recruitment should not be restricted to specific months, but the following general cycle should be considered.
    1. By June of each year we should have a detailed action plan together with deployment and co-ordination. This plan needs to be realistic and must involve organisers directly.
    2. In October, we need to have a blitz that focuses on specific areas and sectors, using the media for publicity. This recruitment programme must have a target of 40 000 and remain linked with the Red October campaign, which is part of the SACP programme.
    3. In February of each year we must conduct a detailed evaluation.
  5. All COSATU affiliated unions must find ways to get time off for shop stewards during recruitment blitzes.
  6. COSATUís Organising Unit must develop plan of action for recruiting new categories of workers. The plan must include:
    1. A clear role for regional organisers in supporting efforts to organise domestic, farm and other vulnerable workers.
    2. Proposals for government interventions to improve vulnerable workersí job security and skills, to set minimum wages and conditions and, ultimately, to secure centralised bargaining for vulnerable sectors like farm and domestic workers. These proposals must look specifically at ways to use the Employment Conditions Commission.
    3. Ways COSATU can help affiliates develop more appropriate strategies and tactics by learning from each other and from foreign experiences.
    4. As far as possible, systems for monitoring affiliatesí work in this area and evaluating progress.
    5. An evaluation of the possibility of establishing service centres in the region to reach out to workers in the informal sector as well as domestic and farm workers. Advice centres would both help reduce the cost of servicing these workers, and let workers get help from unions if vulnerability at work means they cannot join.

Sectoral Unionism


    1. The concept of cartels is supported, but we lack a clear implementation plan.
    2. Demarcation remains a problem, and the Organisational Review Report does not offer a clear solution.


    The Organisational Review Reportís proposals on cartels must be strengthened.

    COSATUís General Secretary must present a plan on how to implement cartels to the first CEC in 2002. It must include a clear set of principles for defining sectors in order to maximise worker unity, union strength and the ability to service members. Before the CEC, COSATU should workshop its proposals with affiliates.

    COSATU must convene more meetings of cartels to facilitate the process of consultation and servicing.

    The public sector unions must review demarcation to implement the principle of one union Ė one industry.

    COSATU must facilitate discussions on operations in a multi-union workplace.

Confronting unemployment

  1. Programmes and actions to fight unemployment must be a high priority.
  2. On industrial strategy,
    1. There needs to be a campaign to popularise the programme.
    2. Sector summits must strengthen collective bargaining, and not undermine it.
    3. The public sector affiliates must develop capacity to reach out to and transform communities. COSATU must hold a workshop to discuss the link between sector summits and the restructuring of the public sector.
    4. COSATU must argue for measures to mobilise resources for development from the financial sector.
  3. Affiliates should develop capacity to engage in the process of restructuring the economy. This is a long term process, which will not deliver results for several years, at best. The key capacity needs are:
    1. Technical capacity that can work with shop stewards and office bearers to develop sectoral proposals that will create jobs.
    2. Education and mandating structures that ensure involvement of shop stewards and members on a large scale. Otherwise labour can end up with a technical approach that rules out the use of power.
    3. Negotiations teams with sufficient understanding, time and expertise.
    4. Ways to link demands and campaigns around skills development Ė an area of weakness for most affiliates Ė with proposals on industrial strategy.
  4. We need to explore the use of learnerships and community service programmes to create employment in the short term. We need to ensure that government tenders, for instance for international events, are targeted at co-operatives run by the unemployed.
  5. On social protection, to take forward our campaign for a basic income grant and the extension of the UIF to all workers.
  6. The Job Creation Trust must be accessed to create employment in line with programmes on industrial strategy, social protection, and organising the unemployed. It should seek especially to support co-operatives.
  7. The union investment companies must play a leading and exemplary role in pursuance of these goals and the vision of the 1998 Central Committee.
  8. On organising the unemployed,
    1. Affiliates must strengthen relations with the unemployed in their sectors, without raising expectations unrealistically. Where possible, we must co-operate with community-based organisations such as SANCO.
    2. NALEDI must undertake research to profile the unemployed, informal, part-time and casual labour in terms of skills, age, race, gender, disability and location.


Transforming the Engines of COSATU: A Look At Structures

National Constitutional Structures
  1. The need to maintain and build representative structures and worker control.
  2. The need to avoid increased bureaucratisation.
  3. Duplications in the work of the current CEC and EXCO.
  1. That functions of constitutional structures should be improved.
  2. National constitutional meetings should allow for strategic policy engagements.


    1. The current composition, functions, powers and frequency of the National Congress and the Central Committee should remain as is.
    2. The CEC and Exco should be merged into a single structure. This structure will be called the CEC and will retain the composition, function and powers of the existing CEC. The restructured CEC will meet once every two months.
    3. Fincom should continue as is, with the proviso that an affiliate member may send a mandated alternates if she or he cannot attend.

National Office Bearers

  1. The need to practice and entrench the principle of collective leadership.
  1. Worker office bearers should be responsible for day-to-day operations, but rather for strategic work.
  1. The spirit and culture of collective leadership should prevail.
  2. The President remains the political head of the NOBsí collective.
  3. Worker office bearers should hold a strategic political and policy oversight role.
  4. NOBs should collectively agree on the allocation of work between themselves, avoiding compartmentalisation of responsibilities.
  5. For consistency, COSATUís Constitution should be amended to change "vice president" to "deputy president."


  1. The need to review the functioning and effectiveness of regional structures and regional office bearersí collectives.
  2. The importance of regional constitutional forums for the engagement in national and regional work.
  3. The need for further integration of locals.
  1. That regional and local work should be strengthened.
  2. Further work should be undertaken in analysing the role, responsibilities and resources of regions.
  1. To maintain the current system of RSSCs, Regional Congresses, regional office bearers and educator/organisers until COSATU has conducted an investigation and reported to CEC on:
    1. The cost and functional implications of changes to the system of annual Regional Congresses,
    2. The role and function of educator/organisers, and
    3. Regional needs with respect to office bearers.
  2. The 2002 Regional Congresses will take place over one day, with two-day Congresses in 2003 to allow more indebt discussions during the election congresses. Affiliates should budget accordingly.
  3. The Federation should debate whether the Constitution should change so that like at the national level, Regional Congresses are held only every three years, rather than annually.
  4. The Constitution be amended to allow for the participation of local chairpersons and secretaries in the REC. Local office bearers should be allowed speaking, but not voting, rights in the REC.
  5. Head Office units must be given clear responsibilities for supporting regional work by developing policy frameworks and assisting with expertise where necessary.


  1. The need for the Federation to intervene in affiliates where deep seated conflict and crises exist.
  2. The need for an induction process so that new affiliates learn about Federation principles, policies and practices.
  1. The Sixth National Congress sufficiently debated the question of Federation intervention.
  1. To adopt the proposal in the Organisational Review Report that COSATU be officially mandated to intervene when an affiliate:
    1. Experiences a deep political conflict that creates a crisis in the union.
    2. Experiences a serious administrative or organisational crisis;
    3. Adopts or implements policies that contradicts COSATU positions.
    4. Cannot grow or reach large groups of workers in their sector because of a lack of resources or inability to develop or implement appropriate strategies.
    5. Does not adhere to demarcation decisions.
  2. The nature of the intervention should depend on the crisis.
    1. In the case of political conflict or disagreements on policy, COSATU and affiliates NOB must intervene.
    2. For internal administrative or organisational problems, a team with appropriate expertise, led by an NOB, should provide support.
    3. The organising Committee is responsible for supporting weak affiliates, based on strategies established by the Secretariat.
    4. Demarcation disputes should be handled by a demarcation committee established by the CEC, consisting of a COSATU NOB and two affiliate General Secretaries, and reporting to the CEC.
  3. COSATU must develop detailed policy guidelines on intervention and submit them to the CEC for finalisation.
  4. COSATUís organising unit must develop an induction programme for new affiliates, with timeframes, that includes:
    1. Education for shop stewards and officials as well as leadership on COSATUís principles, history and major programmes and aims, and
    2. Indicates when and how the new affiliates must adhere to COSATUís constitutional principles.
  5. COSATUís Education Unit will implement the induction programmes.

Head Office Structure

  1. The need to ensure that Head Office units support and service the needs of affiliates, regions and locals
  2. That the current Head Office structures do not provide clarity on the roles and responsibilities of different units.
  1. That the Federation should be central in supporting the work of affiliates, regions and locals.
  2. Capacity developed at Head Office level is appreciated.
  1. Head Office units and work should reflect the needs of affiliates, regions and locals.
  2. Head Office should report to CEC on its repositioning as a result of the resolutions of this Central Committee.
  3. Building Leadership and Democratic Management

Financial Management

  1. Treasurers, shop stewards, Fincom members and accounting staff often need improved training in financial management and procedures.
  2. Budget processes sometimes fail to ensure expenditure accords with priorities, and do not provide sufficiently for the development of reserves.
  3. Some affiliates do not track their membership well, leading to undercollection of subscriptions.
  4. Most affiliates do not have a system for tracking income and payments on a regular basis during the year.
  5. Although many affiliates have good policies and procedures for financial controls on paper, they are frequently not adhered to by worker leaders as well as officials.
  6. Costs for telecommunications, central bargaining, legal fees and international trips are often poorly controlled and budgeted for.
  7. Affiliates do not always include COSATU activities and campaigns in their budgets.


1. Financial sustainability is critical for all unions and for the Federation.


  1. Our overall priorities with respect to financial management are to improve systems for monitoring subscriptions and controlling payments, and to expand training for leadership on financial management.
  2. All affiliates must give audited membership figures to COSATU, which should form the basis for affiliation fees.
  3. With regard to affiliates:
    1. Affiliates must improve the definition of roles and responsibilities in financial management, within the following general guidelines:
      1. Constitutional structures and NOBs must take overall responsibility for effective budgeting and financial stability.
      2. The NOBs must exercise collective, responsible leadership for financial management. They must ensure budgets serve the membership equitably and carry out resolutions, and that Fincom meets regularly. They must follow and enforce financial procedures. Before approving a project, they must always check the cost and determine how it will be funded.
      3. Fincom is the custodian of overall financial viability. It must include a president and the head of the accounts unit.
      4. The accounts unit must report regularly to Fincom on cash flow and expenses on a quarterly basis, noting if there is cause for concern. They must provide information in ways that help leaders and members understand the main decisions and uses of funds.
    2. In terms of budgeting, every affiliate must
      1. Develop an annual budget that is explicitly linked to a programme of action for the year, and which provides for a reserve and for COSATU activities.
      2. Ensure that its constitutional structures interrogate and approve the budget.
      3. Monitor incomes and expenditure against the budget at least on a quarterly basis, and ensure that the NOBs and constitutional structures deal with overspending in a sustainable and transparent way.
    3. Every affiliate must develop co-ordinated, computerised membership and accounts systems that:
      1. Permit it to check the database of members and their current salaries in order to project its income accurately
      2. Alert the relevant officials if there is a delay in payments of subscriptions by employers or individuals, or if subscriptions do not include an annual increase
      3. Generate regular reports on membership to the NOBs, noting the financial implications of changes, preferably by region.
    4. To assist the process of improving membership systems, COSATU will investigate existing practices and convene a workshop for affiliates to share experiences.
    5. Affiliates must ensure on-going and relevant education and guidelines for office bearers with financial responsibilities, as well as for their accounting unit.
    6. Affiliates should set up specific controls on telecommunication, legal and negotiations expenditure. Affiliates should negotiate to ensure that the employer or Council pay more for the costs of sectoral negotiations.
  4. COSATU should:
    1. Develop a handbook on financial management and ask Ditsela to set up training courses for union treasurers, Fincom members, shop stewards, functionaries and accountants. The handbook and educational material should derive from the experiences of affiliates.
    2. Establish guidelines on how affiliates should track membership, including database systems and audit guidelines.
    3. Develop a policy on agency fees.
    4. Intervene where affiliates are suffering financial problems, including where figures on membership are clearly inaccurate or affiliation fees are way overdue.
    5. Establish forums so that affiliates can share experiences on a regular basis.

Staff Development


    Most affiliates and the Federation do not yet have functioning skills development or employment equity plans.

    Conditions of service are not consistent across the Federation, and career pathing remains weak.

    Most leaders do not have training in personnel management, which can make them appear inconsistent.

    Most affiliates do not have strong systems for recruiting, communicating with, or assessing staff.


Staff development is critical for the efficient and effective functioning of the labour movement.


    All affiliates and the Federation must develop skills development plans in the context of the Skills Development Act, linked to an employment equity plan and career paths for staff, and based on an audit of existing skills and needs.

    As a first step toward ensuring uniform conditions across the affiliate, COSATU should undertake a survey of conditions of service in all affiliates for presentation to the CEC.

    Affiliates should introduce developmental performance management systems that

    1. Define clear objectives and standards of work,
    2. Ensure consistent and supportive feedback to staff members, and
    3. Are linked to skills development programmes where appropriate.


  1. Leaders should be given training in personnel management to ensure a more open, supportive and collective approach.
  2. Affiliates should improve communication with staff members, including through the establishment of a staff committee and regular meetings between secretaries and staff.

The overall management model

  1. The Organisational Review Reportís proposals for union management risks reducing the power of worker leaders relative to the Secretariat.
  2. The proposal on employing shop stewards could be read as a mandate to employ shop stewards even if they are not suitable for a post.
  1. The model on union management must ensure that the Secretariatís decisions are subject to the oversight of the NOBs as a whole, and ultimately the constitutional structures.
  2. The proposal on employing shop stewards should only apply where there are no valid reasons for turning down the application of a shop steward or former shop steward.

Way Forward

  1. The need to take forward resolutions and programmes adopted at the Central Committee.
  2. The need for ongoing organisational reflection.


    That an ongoing reflection and assessment of the environment and the organisational challenges being posed is necessary.

    That the identification of issues requiring adaptation or change is constantly needed.


    1. That the Organisational Review Commission should continue the work started. The Commission should agree on issues for immediate implementation and on issues that require Constitutional amendment in the next National Congress.
    2. To adopt Chapter 7 of the Organisation Review Report, which follows, as the basis for taking the process forward.

Taking Organisational change Forward The work of the Organisational Review Commission demonstrated the need for a much more systematic and thorough project to assist the Federation and affiliates to define problems in greater detail and come up with solutions. Problem areas include:
  • Demarcation into super unions, and within super unions
  • A practical programme for recruitment in each sector and region
  • Evaluating and improving representation of workers in the workplace
  • Women empowerment
  • Defining the role of COSATU regions and locals
  • Financial and personnel management systems and competencies.

Outputs of the programme

The programme will involve COSATU, its affiliates, and NALEDI. By December 2002, it will develop:

    1. For each affiliate, an assessment of organisational strengths and weaknesses, and proposals on the way forward, plus a detailed recruitment plan
    2. For COSATU, an assessment of organisational strengths and weaknesses in the head office, regions and locals, and proposals on the way forward
    3. An assessment of the work of COSATU constitutional structures, and proposals for remedying any problems.
    4. A data base of shop stewards
    5. A survey of worker attitudes toward, expectations of and knowledge about unions
    6. Models for a budget cycle and financial management systems for COSATU and affiliates
    7. A detailed proposal on demarcation, including how to achieve sectoral unions and the demarcation and structure of super unions.

Roles and responsibilities

COSATU will be responsible for:
  1. Ensuring regular reports to Constitutional structures.
  2. Convening regular meetings with affiliates to exchange experiences and develop technical guidelines.
  3. Obtaining seed funding for the project, including resources for each affiliate.
  4. Employing a co-ordinator for the project.
  5. Strategic guidance, quality control and management of cross-cutting projects (the survey, data base of shop stewards, and management models where appropriate).
  6. The assessment of COSATU structures.

Affiliates will be responsible for:

    1. Oversight of the entire project through the CEC and other Constitutional structures.
    2. Establishing mandating and report-back structures for the project, and identifying a dedicated official to oversee it.
    3. Support for the cross-cutting projects.
    4. Assessment of its organisational needs and development of proposals to address them.

NALEDI will be responsible for:
  1. Establishing a resource centre and support staff for affiliate and COSATU processes.
  2. Quality control and mentoring, where affiliates or COSATU request it.
  3. Assistance with fundraising.


  COSATU Affiliates NALEDI
Phase 1: preparations


Appointment of co-ordinatorIdentify capacity needed for survey and database

Workshop with affiliates and others to develop guidelines for research and mandating

Establishment of mandating procedures

Designation of dedicated staff

Participation in workshop 


Development of support systems

Technical support for workshop  

Phase 2:Substantive work

Work with NALEDI on survey

Finalise database

Develop financial model

Develop demarcation proposals

Convene quarterly meetings with affiliate representatives

Work on internal organisational report

Consolidate affiliates and internal report

Work on organisational development report
  • Research into quality of service and management
  • Research into recruitment potential
  • Development of proposals
  • Discussion and mandating
  • Finalisation of report for COSATU
Support for COSATU and affiliates, especially on
  • Survey
  • Research processes
  • Understanding organisational development
Phase 3: finalisation Convene special CC to consider final report and recommendations     Ensure proper mandating and participation in CC      
  1. Budget estimates
  2. Affiliates: R200 000 each, or R4,2 million in total
  3. COSATU Co-ordinator Ė R120 000 a year for two years
  4. Travel to regions/locals: R30 000
  5. Development of database: R500 000
  6. Survey: R500 000
  7. NALEDI expertise: R200 000
  8. Meetings: R500 000



Part III. Emergency Resolutions

3.1 Higher Education

  1. The process of reconfiguration of the higher education landscape.
  2. The appointment of the National Working Group by the Minister of Education to advise him during this process.
  3. The current unilateralism in our individual institutions, and the piecemeal, ad hoc approach to the whole process.
  4. The possible closure of historically disadvantaged institutions such as Unitra, which have not been empowered in terms of redressing historical imbalances.


  1. All stakeholders need to be sufficiently accommodated in terms of consultation
  2. A comprehensive and coherent programme must inform the outcome of the Ministryís ultimate plan
  3. The re-configuration of Higher Education should enhance the skills base and economic needs of our country.


  1. There be a moratorium on the closure of all historically disadvantaged institutions pending the conclusion of the National Working Groupís work.
  2. That an urgent Alliance meeting on higher education be convened.

3.2 Violence against Women and Children


  1. Since 1981, November 25 to December 10, 2001, has been identified as the Sixteen Days of Activism commemorated globally to eradicate violence against women, children and babies.
  2. The surge of rape of women and abuse of women and children in our country.
  3. The HIV/AIDS epidemic has worsened the situation, escalating violence against working class women, children and babies.
  1. We must mobilise our members and the working class as a whole against rape, particularly that of children and babies.
  2. We condemn rape as a barbaric act that corrodes the moral fabric of our society.
  3. To embark on marches, pickets and other forms of actions to highlight the plight of children and babies, the majority of whom come from working class communities.

3.3 Swaziland:


  1. The arrest and incarceration of the President of the Peopleís United Democratic Movement (PUDEMO), Comrade Mario Masuku, in Swaziland.
  2. The ongoing human rights violations, bashing of the trade union and the charges levelled against the SFTU by the Swazi government.
  1. To support the demand for the unconditional release of the PUDEMO President and that all charges against him be dropped.
  2. To call for an end to the political persecution of the trade union federation and the broader progressive forces in Swaziland.
  3. To support the international call for the isolation of the absolute monarchy until there is democracy and respect for trade union and human rights.

3.4 South Korea


  1. The formation of the KCTU in 1995 represented a milestone in the building of militant and democratic trade unionism in South Korea.
  2. The KCTU faces harsh conditions of repression and anti-unionism from the government of Kim Dae-Jung, who has been hailed internationally as a champion of democracy.
  3. Kim Dae-Jungís regime has violated workersí right to strike and many core ILO conventions that it purports to support and which it has ratified.
  4. The arrest of the President of the Korean Federation of Trade Unions (KCTU), Comrade Dan Byung-ho, for leading legitimate actions in the interest of workers.
  1. The arrest of the KCTU leaders represents an attack on the entire trade union movement and the working class struggle internationally.
  2. The stance taken by Korean government will not resolve the economic policy impasse with the unions, but deepen mass unrest amongst the Korean people.
  3. Economic growth in Korea has not translated in quality of work and quality of wages. Capital has reaped most of the benefits of that growth.


  1. To support the struggle of the Korean workers as led by the KCFTU for the release of their President.
  2. To support the struggle against neo-liberal restructuring of the Korea economy.
  3. To call on the ILO to send a special mission to Korea.
  4. To call on all Nobel Peace laureates in our country to put pressure on President Kim Dae-Jung to stop the harassment of the trade union movement and release the President of the KCTU and all trade unionists.
  5. To endorse the SIGTUR Congress resolution to engage the Southern African Catholic Bishopsí Conference to condemn the Korean President.
  6. To call on the working class as a whole to put pressure on the Korean authorities.



  1. The Malaysian government has been using apartheid tactics to weaken and ultimately destroy the trade union movement in Malaysia.
  2. The Prime Minister, Dr Mahatir, masquerades as a defender of human rights but uses the Internal Security Act (ISA) to harass and arrest unionists.
  3. The arrest of the Malaysian trade union activist Tian Chua and many other unionists.
  1. To call on the government of Malaysia to release Comrade Tian Chua and all other trade unionists.
  2. To mandate our affiliates and the Federation to carry out protest action throughout the country in support of the Malaysian struggle for free and independent trade unionism.
  3. To call for intensified picketing and protests against Malaysian Airlines and other Malaysian companies.