Johannesburg — THE Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) called on the heads of states in the Southern African region to advance democracy, economic emancipation and social transformation.n
The leaders are meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
"The Southern African Development Community (SADC) region has a rich history of struggle and solidarity against colonialism and imperialism, but that rich history means nothing if it cannot put a plate of food on the table of the citizens in each of our countries.
"That rich history becomes abstract without concrete deliverables and material gains for the poor and suffering people," said Patrick Craven, COSATU spokesperson.
He said the main challenges facing this region were underdevelopment, resulting in poverty, inequalities and unemployment, monopoly of power by business and political elites resulting in the exclusion of the people from key decision making processes, exploitation of natural resources and the degradation of the environment.
"It is sad to realise that our region continues to create jobs for the most developed countries as we still export raw material, thus reproducing the colonial economic relationships with developed countries," said Craven.
He expressed concern some countries in the region had leaders without a mandate of their own people, but who claimed to act and speak on their behalf.
"Swaziland is a glaring example and we call for SADC to enforce the SADC Principles and Guidelines for democratic elections."