South Africa: Cosatu Gauteng PEC Statement

press release

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in Gauteng convened the Provincial Executive Committee on 22 September 2020. The meetings discussed the outcomes of the Central Executive Committee meeting, a planned national strike next month and the political and socio-economic developments in the province since the national lockdown. The PEC in its analyses concluded that the biggest problem that has led to the depressing and sorry state of the working class is that it has outsourced its responsibility to other class forces. This is a recipe for failure.

Organisational

The PEC acknowledged and appreciated the growth of the federation during a difficult period under the COVID-19 crisis. This speaks to the hard work of the federation in representing workers and solving their problems before and during lockdown. We are happy with the gradually progress that is being made to engage other former affiliates and those who elected to leave the federation to return home.

The meeting denounced the offensive against collective bargaining by employers led by the South African government. The refusal to honour the PSCBC Resolution 1 of 2018 is a direct attack on workers. What is unacceptable is that this is done to appease the markets and rating agencies at the expense of workers. The PEC regards this as a blatant betrayal of workers by the ANC led government. We are encouraging all the workers and people of Gauteng to support the COSATU National strike on the 07th October 2020. This is a time to stand up and fight against corruption. Failure is not an option.

COVID-19 Response

The PEC applauded all frontline workers for standing in between the deadly pandemic and saving lives. The entire country remains indebted to these heroes and heroines will forever be thankful for their selflessness and dedication to jobs and in serving the people of this country. The plans and strategies put in place by our government in the province have been commendable, but they have been undermined by corruption and maladministration.

The PEC condemned the PPE tender corruption allegations in the province. It is criminal that while the working class was struggling under lockdown, the governing elites were looting the coffers of the state. We demand that all politicians implicated in this corruption should face the might of the law.

Socio-Economic

The PEC lamented the socio-economic conditions the working class as a result of neo-liberal economic policies adopted by government for the last quarter of a century.

The meeting also denounced racism in the country and concluded that the ANC government's economic policies are the source of this arrogance of white supremacy. The working class is a victim of a cynical collusion between the political elite and the business oligarchy that has ensured that government runs a corporate welfare state.

The PEC reiterated its call for the creation of the provincial state bank, workers bank and pharmaceutical companies to counter the onslaught by monopolies in these sectors. It is through these initiatives that the spine of monopoly capital and racism could be broken.

Political

The PEC's resolved that the betrayal of the working class goes back to the decision by the democratic government to impose GEAR and discard the RDP in 1996. This is the history of the National Treasury discarding the ANC manifesto and imposing its own voluntary and extreme austerity strategy that sacrifices public servants.

The PEC discussed the state of the Alliance and the possible future of the alliance and the posture of the federation in future elections. While we have a resolution from the last congress to build the alliance, we are also troubled by its impotence, lack of cohesiveness and decisiveness.

It is becoming difficult to ignore that the working class has lost confidence in the governing elites and their ability and willingness to fix the mess they have created. Everything from the rate of unemployment, economic decline, corruption, attack on collective bargaining, adherence to neoliberal economic policies points to the fact that the Alliance has begun a descent that will sink it and the country.

The PEC, therefore, concluded that it is necessary to start a discussing the relevance of the Alliance and whether it remains relevant, when the government is starting to hand over the country to the IMF. This frank assessments of the effectiveness of the Alliance should take into consideration the current situation where millions of workers are losing their jobs, where the VAT has been increased instead of corporate tax and where private and public sector corruption have become endemic. We plan to meet with the Gauteng ANC leadership to discuss some political difficulties in the province.

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