South Africa: Nehawu's Response to the ANC NEC January 8th Statement

NEHAWU join millions of people around the world in sending our best wishes to the African National Congress that celebrated its 101st anniversary on the 8th of January 2013.The people's movement celebrated its 101st anniversary since its formation by hosting a huge rally in Durban, Kings Park Stadium on the 12th of January 2012, where a customary annual NEC message was delivered by ANC President Cde Jacob Zuma.

This momentous occasion comes after a very successful ANC 53RD National Conference that was held in Mangaung,Free State.NEHAWU is proud to be an ally of the African National Congress, the oldest liberation movement on the continent, that has led the people of this country with integrity and courage for over hundred years and brought them freedom and democracy.

The 53rd ANC National Conference in Mangaung saw the election of currently serving trade unionists to its National Executive Committee. They follow in the footsteps and long tradition of stalwarts like Moses Mabhida,Harry Gwala,Joe Slovo,Gwede Mantashe and a lot of other trade unionists and communists who have held senior leadership positions in the ANC.

Our union is proud that amongst those elected to serve in the ANC NEC is the SACP Central Committee and Politburo Member, the current NEHAWU General Secretary, Comrade Fikile "Slovo" Majola.We congratulate him and all worker leaders who have been elected in the ANC NEC and we are confident that they will ensure that the voice of the workers is heard in the broad church that is the ANC. We expect them to ensure that the ANC remains a disciplined force of the left that is biased towards the poor and the working class.

Moving forward we will work hard to make sure that we intensify the Cosatu Campaign of "Swelling of the Ranks" that seeks to ensure that trade unions join and hold leadership positions in both the SACP and the ANC at all levels.

As we enter the second phase of the transition since the fall of apartheid and the emergence of a national democratic society, we are happy that the ANC has committed itself to a programme of action that will fast track the process of eliminating the apartheid legacy and bring about socio-economic freedom. Our union commits itself to work with both the ANC and its government in helping to provide political and moral leadership to our society and to also rollout programmes that will help eliminate poverty, inequality and unemployment in our country.

We are happy to see that the NEC has re-affirmed its commitment to building an active and interventionist state that will play a bigger role in the economy. In order to achieve thorough economic development; the state has to increase its capacity to intervene in the economy. There is an urgent need to act firm against corruption, maladministration and incompetent leadership across all levels of government.

We totally agree with the ANC that the Land Act marked the beginning of all the problems that we face today, such as landlessness, poverty and inequality. In order to redress this anomaly we support the NEC's recommendation to replace the ineffective principle of 'willing buyer; willing seller" with the 'just and equitable' principle of "land expropriation" for land reform purposes. We fully support the re-opening of the lodgement date for claims and the provision of the exception to the 1913 cut-off date to accommodate historical landmarks, heritage sites and descendants of the Khoi and San who lost their land long before 1913.

NEHAWU commends the NEC for placing education and skills development at the centre of its transformation and development agenda. The improved access to education will help eliminate the current unacceptable gap between the rich and the poor. We fully support programmes like the no-fee schools, school nutrition programmes, expansion of Early Childhood Development, Grade R enrolments as well as bursary and loan programmes at Further Education and Training colleges and universities.

We congratulate the ANC led government for introducing National Health Insurance pilot programme in identified districts and we are happy to hear that the National Health Insurance remains on track and that the plans are afoot to introduce the NHI Fund next year,2014.

As a trade union organising in the health sector, we pledge to continue to fight for transformation of the public health system and against the pillaging of resources by the private health industry. This will include ensuring that our members conduct themselves in an exemplary manner in rendering health care services to the poor and working, as enjoined by the ANC's January 8 message.

We also applaud the ANC led government for its achievements in the fight against HIV and Aids.We are happy to hear from the ANC NEC that "The rate of new infections has decreased. Mother to child transmission of HIV has also decreased by 50 percent. One point seven million South Africans are on antiretroviral treatment. Life expectancy in the country has improved".

NEHAWU salutes the ANC NEC for adopting an activist and anti –imperialist international policy position that supports the struggles of the people of Western Sahara, Palestine and the campaign for the Release of the Cuban Five and the end of the blockage against Cuba. We are also happy with the ANC position on the proposed establishment of the BRICS Bank and also pledge to play our role in supporting the movement in promoting the Nelson Mandela Day across the continent and the world.

We are in no doubt that the ANC remains a disciplined force of the left, a multi-class mass movement and an internationalist movement with an anti-imperialist outlook. We expect it to continue to have a bias towards the poor and the working class, the majority of whom are black and African, until we have achieved equality and socio-economic freedom.

Moving forward we expect that all of these set goals will be achieved as long as there is unity within the ANC and its alliance partners. We call on all ANC members and alliance partners to work hard to strengthen all the structures of the movement and to promote unity, hard work, and integrity within the Alliance as we pursue socio-economic freedom.

Issued by NEHAWU Secretariat Office

For further information, please contact: Sizwe Pamla (NEHAWU Media Liaison Officer) at 011 833 2902 - 082 558 5962 or email: sizwep@nehawu.org.za

Visit NEHAWU website: www.nehawu.org.za

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