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Shopsteward Volume 27: Special Bulletin

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Media Centre  |  COSATU Press Statements


Issued by: Congress Of South African Trade Unions


04 MAY 1996

The COSATU Executive Committee met in a special session today. (04.05.96) The Executive Committee received a report on the constitutional process. The EXCO reiterate COSATU demands as follows:

1. The lock-out should not be entrenched in the constitution, nor should it be entrenched through the back door. 2. Minority privileges should not be protected through a property clause in the constitution. 3. There should be no entrenchment of apartheid education through the back door. 4. Provinces should not be given powers that will lead to fragmentation of policy on economy, labour market and other key strategic areas like education, health, transport, etc. 5. The clause on the right to life should not lead to the reintroduction of the draconian hangings and re denial of women rights to decide on whether to have abortion or not.

1.1 Lock-out

COSATU welcomes the majority parties decision that the lock-out clause should not be entrenched in the constitution. The Executive Committee noted the wording proposed by the ANC in an attempt to break the deadlock in the constitutional committee. COSATU shall

    submit any wording to the following test:
  • The constitution should not entrench a lock-out clause
  • The lock-out should not be brought through the back door
  • No tampering with the basic rights contained in section 23 of the constitution.

The ANC wording appear to be meeting the above test. Any further weakening of the current proposal shall not be acceptable to COSATU. Whilst there is a principle support for the ANC proposal, final agreement has yet to be reached.

COSATU will be closely monitoring further developments. COSATU will express its view on the extend this wording meet the test referred to above once an agreement has been formally reached.

1.2 Property clause

The Executive committee reiterated COSATU's demand that there should be no property clause in the constitution.

The ANC formulation was noted. COSATU calls on the ANC not to allow a further watering down of their proposal in particular clause 8. COSATU whilst standing firm on its rejection of a property clause, calls for further beefing up of the current proposal to allow the government to redress the imbalances caused by apartheid and colonialism.

1.3 Education clause

The Executive Committee calls on the ANC not to move an inch on its current proposal. No party as worth its name can agree to the reintroduction of apartheid education through the back door as the NP new demand.

1.4 Power of the Provincial and local governments

COSATU saw for the first time the proposed schedule of powers for the provinces and local governments. COSATU will study this schedule against its national congress demand. The Executive Committee welcomes the fact that economy. labour market and other key strategic areas like education, health, water, etc. are exclusive powers of the national government.

The Executive Committee calls on members and workers to remain in the trenches and remain ready for possible further action in defence of their demands. Any complacency and early celebration of victories will be too costly as the negotiations have now reached a very difficult stage. The Executive Committee will issue a final statement once final agreements been reached.