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South Africa: What would Chris Hani say today?

Chris Hani.

"Being a staunch believer in the dictum that the masses are the makers of history, Chris Hani would urge all of us to push the workers' wagon forward. He would warn that without mass power, we must all forget about liberating ourselves from the shackles of capitalism and apartheid. I want to be like Chris Hani! Let all of us be inspired by his examples and deeds that need to be emulated."

Chris Hani Memorial Lecture by Zwelinzima Vavi, Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) general secretary, delivered in Queenstown, October 23, 2010

I am extremely honoured by your invitation to deliver the Chris Hani memorial lecture here in Queenstown today. It was over fifteen years ago, on April 10, 1993, when "Chris" Martin Thembisile Hani was cruelly taken from us by an assassin's bullet. We remember too all the other heroes and heroines of our liberation struggle whom we lost in the month of April, including Solomon Mahlangu and Oliver Tambo.

Chris Hani's story and my own interaction with him after his return from exile have inspired me and millions of others. He remains a shining example of what we mean when we talk about an authentic, genuine, true revolutionary leader. He is the best embodiment of the finest traditions and principles of our liberation movement.

He practised selflessness until he was cruelly assassinated by the forces of reaction. To those who planned and executed this cruel did, that literally killed our future, we can only say to you -- we won't allow Chris Hani to die. We all aspire to be like him -- we will follow his teachings! He lives on within each one of us!

It is also befitting for me that I return to my home, where it all started, to speak about what I consider to be the true legacy of Chris Hani.

There are indeed many ways to remember and honour comrade Chris Hani. We could simply recount the exemplary character that he was, and urge all of us to live by his teachings, as well as his courage. We could also simply quote Chris Hani and some of the powerful words he uttered, only to forget the message contained therein the minute we walk out of this hall.

"Chris" Thembisile Martin Hani's whole history symbolises the trials and tribulations of the black majority and the working class. He was born into grinding poverty in Sabalele village in the Cofimvaba district, by a migrant labourer Gilbert and his mother Mary. His life from the beginning was to be a reminder of the battles that lay ahead. The first three children of his parents did not survive high infant mortality. He was among the last three that just survived.

Chris Hani was a natural genius! He matriculated at 16 and graduated in law from Fort Hare University at only 19. He then moved to work as an articled clerk in Cape Town. Soon, he joined umKhonto weSizwe [the military wing formed by the liberation movement] and went into exile to pursue the revolutionary program of the African National Congress (ANC).

In exile he got frustrated by a movement that was not active in the military front. He wrote, together with a group of comrades, the popular "Hani memorandum", decrying the lack of accountability of the leadership, draconian discipline, nepotism, corruption, favouritism, etc. For this he was detained by his own movement. Many older and physically stronger comrades had chosen to shrug their shoulders or worse simply joined in the activities, which, if they had been allowed to fester, would have destroyed the movement from within. Not Tshonyane!

He was the voice of ordinary people

He used his advantage of being a law graduate to represent those who shared the trenches with him -- the workers and the poor. For him, the popular saying of the South African Communist Party (SACP), "For the workers and the poor", was not just a slogan.  He was not one who was excited by, to quote Amilcar Cabral, shouting hurrahs and proclaiming solidarity with the working class and the poor. Instead, Chris Hani demonstrated, through his practical action, his class position. 

We speak here not of a troublemaker but of a brave and courageous commissar who led the joint MK-Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army group in the 1967 Wankie campaign, an incursion into northern Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia). After nearly two months of skirmishes, Hani successfully led the survivors of his group into Botswana. In the 1970s and 1980s, Hani infiltrated South Africa many times. He became the first member of the ANC national executive committee to cross a border into South Africa from exile in the course of struggle. He became a key target of the apartheid security forces and survived several assassination attempts.

When he returned into South Africa following the unbanning of the ANC, the SACP and others in 1990, he literally criss-crossed the country addressing multitudes of rallies that inspired millions to continue with the finest traditions of our struggle. He was a natural orator and one of the best articulators of the aspirations of the working class. He was loved and admired by all freedom-loving South Africans, in particular the working class. He was second only to Nelson Mandela in popularity.

Proud to be a communist

At the time when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Berlin Wall was destroyed, many with whom he served in the central committee andp olitburo of the SACP argued that their names must not be mentioned in public that they were communists. He disagreed. His hatred of the exploitation of the majority by a small but powerful class of property owners was genuine and not a tactical matter to gain influence at the time when only the Soviet Union was prepared to help our people gain their freedom. He was proud to be known as a communist! He wanted the whole world to know this.

At the time when many were buying suits anticipating to be appointed as future government ministers, Chris Hani agreed to be elected general secretary of the SACP, a position that ruled him out of a cushy job. This is what we must celebrate today -- a leader who, gun in hand commanded revolutionary forces in the battlefield. Whilst others were theorising he infiltrated South Africa and led from the front, exposing himself to danger.  When he faced the prospect of luxury, which others think they are entitled to as a reward of their personal suffering, he chose to build the party. All this demonstrates the long-held political practice and principle of the ANC: selflessness. I-ANC iyasetyenzelwa akungenwa ngetender!  

For Chris Hani it was never about himself -- he was not self-centred, big headed and elitist. He was not preoccupied with material things.

Reacting to the dismay expressed by others who were shocked at his decision to accept the position of general secretary of the SACP instead of angling to be a minister, he had this to say:

The perks of a new government are not really appealing to me. Everybody would like to have a good job, a good salary... but for me that is not the all of struggle. What is important is the continuation of the struggle... the real problems of the country are not whether one is in cabinet ... but what we do for social upliftment of the working masses of our country.

How I wish that those who carry knives and guns to fight for leadership positions in all our organisations could have learnt something from Chris Hani's exemplary modesty, honesty and integrity. After reading his letter to the leadership I really wonder how he would react to the ANC infighting in Mpumalanga and elsewhere, which killed at least 10 comrades in the past two years. He would not be shocked though; this is after all what he fought against all his life in the movement. We know of some cases of disappearances where the prime suspects are not the regime but others we continue to call comrades today. 

But he will be concerned at the scale of careerism. During his lifetime he did not have to witness, as we do every day, the reality that some regard access to political office as a means to be super-rich, without making any effort to be an entrepreneur.

I suspect that Chris Hani would been worried that the party leaders have left SACP offices to be MPs, provincal MPLs and ministers. He would mobilise workers to provide resources that will ensure that the SACP has a capacity to play its vanguard role.

I doubt very much, if he were around, we would have experienced the full-scale crises we witnessed in the run up of the ANC 52th National Congress [in Polokwane, which removed President Thabo Mbeki and set in train the coming to power of current president Jacob Zuma]. I honestly believe that he would have managed to pull the plug on the "1996 class project" [as the neoliberal, pro-capitalist policies of the previous ANC government led by Thabo Mbeki has come to be known in the SACP].

The 1996 class project continues to seek to impose the Washington consensus on the democratic movement. The strategy of the counter-revolution is now to create multiple centres from which anti-working class policy positions emerge. The working class, so to speak, has to quickly awaken to the fact that it may be politically out-manoeuvred, surrounded by enemy forces and being vulnerable, to quote Mao Zedong, to the strategy of "encirclement and suppression". As we speak, no qualitative shift in policy has taken place, particularly economic policy. 

As the [ANC-SACP-COSATU] Alliance battles a state of paralysis and attempts to marginalise others from policy discourse even after Polokwane, reactionary pre-Polokwane policies continue being imposed, simply because some people occupy positions of power to do so. Even when ANC branches articulate clearly and succinctly the direction that must be taken on key policy questions, underhand sophistry takes root and resolutions are crafted in ways that make a mockery of branch interventions.

`All power to the people!'

What would Chris Hani have done in this situation?  His response would be our profound slogan: "All power to the people!" He would castigate the practice that places all power with the government bureaucrats! After saying this, Chris Hani would have criss-crossed the country, mobilising branches of the ANC, SACP and COSATU locals, alerting them to the looming strategy of "encirclement and suppression", and the cultural transformation that has solidified -- of neglect of ANC resolutions and patent resistance to account to the Alliance.

He would have resisted with all his might attempts to use the state apparatus to advance factional interests in the movement. He would have been at the forefront of the battles against those using the media to assassinate the character of other comrades. He would have not allowed corruption to run so deep that today it threatens to be the primary means of capital accumulation, threatening the very fabric of our national democratic revolution.

He would have told those running around demanding to be elected at the next congress because they are young, that Walter Sisulu became the youngest ever secretary general not because he was young but because he was the finest leader of our movement.

He would be impressed that we have a constitution that guarantees to all the right to food, water, electricity, shelter, education and health.

Being a person who was never shy to give credit where it is due, Hani would be proud of the achievements made by the state in building 1600 clinics and refurbishing 400 public hospitals. He would be humbled by the changed attitude of our government regarding the provision of HIV/AIDS treatment to the infected. As a true believer that the masses are their own liberators, Hani would attribute the government's move from denialism to pragmatism regarding HIV/AIDS to the relentless struggles conducted by those who are infected and affected by the virus.

Having grown up in the harsh conditions of Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape, Hani would however be unimpressed by the state of education in this province and nationally. He would perhaps wonder if the matric pass rate in this province and many others would improve this year. Almost astonishingly, Hani would ask: Why is it that black children are still the victims of dysfunctional, unsafe and under-resourced schools? It would never be acceptable to Hani that 42% of our schools depend on boreholes, rainwater or have no access to water on or near site, 88% of schools have no laboratories, 21% of schools have no toilets on site, and 62% of schools have a learner/educator ratio that exceeds 30.

He would be thrilled to know that we have not wasted time in ensuring that we embark in campaigns to liberate South Africans from want and hunger. He would be happy that 74% of South African households live in brick structures, flats and townhouses. But he would be marching in the streets, as he used to do, decrying that 1.875 million households still live in shacks. He would be angry at the quality of houses we have built. He would be angry that we have entrenched the apartheid spatial development planning and that houses built are far away from places of work.

Chris Hani would celebrate with us that in such a short period of time we have improved access to water from just 66% in 1994 to 96% in 2009. He would be happy to be told that access to sanitation also improved from 50% to 77% and today 73% of our people have electricity, up from 51% in 1994. 

He would feel vindicated from his ideological standpoint to know that there is overwhelming evidence on the need to build an active developmental state that intervenes in the economy. He would be amazed at the level of intransigence of bureaucrats and their political principals, who refuse to build state capacity, and continue to make the state an issuer of tenders and an administrator of regulations -- leaving the actual delivery of basic needs to market forces, which are dominated by monopolies.

There is truth in what Karl Marx said in a letter to his father that...

At such moments of transition we feel compelled to view the past and the present with the eagle eye of thought in order to become conscious of our real position. Indeed, world history itself likes to look back in this way and take stock, which often gives it the appearance of retrogression or stagnation, whereas it is merely, as it were, sitting back in an armchair in order to understand itself and mentally grasp its own activity, that of the mind.

Chris Hani would have been in the front row of protests against the commodification of basic services. He would argue that we are allowing the markets to snatch victories from the jaws of defeat. We deliver on one hand, only to allow market rules such as cost recovery to steal these victories. In South Africa 1.3 million households, which account for almost 5 million people, are experiencing water cut-offs due to non-payment. The democratic government gives on the one hand, capital takes on the other.

Chris Hani would have been very disappointed to note that many have forgotten about the ANC 1969 Morogoro conference warnings today. We recall that, through the "Hani memorandum", he ensured that the ANC holds that conference. The Morogoro Conference said the following ever-lasting words that we must repeat over and over again.

Our nationalism must not be confused with chauvinism or narrow nationalism of a previous epoch.  It must not be confused with the classical drive by an elitist group among the oppressed people to gain ascendancy so that they can replace the oppressor in the exploitation of the mass... In our country -- more than in any other part of the oppressed world -- it is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without a return of the wealth of the land to the people as a whole.  It is therefore a fundamental feature of our strategy that victory must embrace more than formal political democracy. To allow the existing economic forces to retain their interests intact is to feed the root of racial supremacy and does not represent even the shadow of liberation...

[Our struggle] is also happening in a new kind of South Africa; a South Africa in which there is a large and well-developed working class...and in which the independent expressions of the working people -- their political organs and trade unions - are very much part of the liberation front. -- ANC Strategy and Tactics document, 1969

Tshonyane would be scathing in his criticism of us -- that we, the new rulers of South Africa, have been joining the masses in complaining "we have political freedom but must still gain our economic liberation". He would agree with what COSATU has said that we have political medals without economic jewellery. He would ask a question why when we had so many possibilities to change this situation around we join the masses who are crying out for leadership that would inspire them to liberate themselves from bondage. Chris Hani would recognise that some of the failures to deal with the legacy of colonial capitalism are as a result of our own making.

In particular he would have been very angry that instead of us uncompromisingly taking forward all the 10 demands of the Freedom Charter, we chose in the face of global pressure, to beat ourselves before the bully arrived. We simply capitulated and uncritically embraced neoliberalism through the adoption of the dictates of the Washington consensus in 1996.

We simply changed the white driver with a black driver but the train did not change the direction that was predetermined by the white driver. This route we are still travelling is going towards more inequalities, structural unemployment and poverty and is politically unsustainable.

Indeed today, after just a short period of 16 years of our political freedom, we have become number one country in the world with deepest levels of inequalities. In 1995, the Gini coefficient stood at 0.64 but it increased to 0.68 in 2008. Income inequalities in particular are much more pronounced signified by the fact that 20 top-paid directors in Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed companies earned 1728 times the average income of a South African worker in 2008, while state-owned enterprises paid 194 times average workers' income.

Economic apartheid

One of the reasons why he did not proceed to be a lawyer was his hatred of apartheid in the workplace. Regrettably this workplace and economic apartheid is worsening. Between 1963 and 1964, the manufacturing sector paid whites five times more than Africans, whites earned an average of R2169, while Africans earned R414. However, by 2007, whites were earning eight times more than Africans. These inequalities also find expression in access to quality health care, housing and education facilities. 

These patterns of income distribution determine the future evolution of chances of having better life.

He would be shocked to know that unemployment among Africans, which was estimated to be 38% in 1995, increased to 45% in 2005, and that a staggering 48% of South Africans live below R322 a month, with 25% of the population depending on state grants to survive.

He would ask us: What was the point of passing the Employment Equity Act if we cannot use it to enforce the transformation of the workplace? He would be surprised to learn that the top managers continue to be predominantly drawn from the white population and that 62% of all promotions and recruitments were drawn from 12% of the South African population. Almost all the top 20 paid directors in JSE-listed companies remain white males.

He would ask why after 16 years the country has no overarching comprehensive development strategy which is underpinned by an industrial policy that will transform our economy while meeting the basic needs of our people. Chris Hani would have found it scandalous that our country has no growth path 16 years after democracy and that it only recently produced an industrial policy.

He would have been angry that our government leaders, right from the beginning, signed our right to develop away by agreeing to reduce the tariffs, which haemorrhaged our industries, to the amusement of even the multinational corporations, who demand free movement of their goods and money. 

Today crucial sectors in the economy continue to be dominated by a few large conglomerates. Past policies have failed to break the dominance of the core minerals/energy complex sectors, and imports continue to be made up of sophisticated manufactured items such as machinery and equipment, watches, clocks and even door handles!

Chicken and pig

Faced by this unfolding disaster, our leaders are increasingly making calls on the working class to sign a social accord and enter into "a chicken and a pig partnership". In this infamous partnership the chicken and the pig agree to equally contribute so that they have a breakfast. But the chicken quickly volunteers to contribute eggs produced after some pleasurable activity, while asking the pig to donate with bacon, which can only happen after the pig has been slaughtered.

Socialism is not about big concepts and heavy theory. Socialism is about decent shelter for those who are homeless. It is about water for those who have no safe drinking water. It is about health care, it is about a life of dignity for the old. It is about overcoming the huge divide between urban and rural areas. It is about a decent education for all our people. Socialism is about rolling back the tyranny of the market. As long as the economy is dominated by an unelected, privileged few, the case for socialism will exist.

Chris Hani was a simple person, yet a sophisticated organic intellectual who could cut through the jargon and put himself in the place where ordinary people would understand Marxist/Leninist literature.

Comrades and friends, we have no doubt that Chris Hani would have been at the forefront of the campaign against corruption. He would challenge vociferously those who have grown accustomed to the notion that holding public office is about getting the "perks", driving expensive cars and stealing public resources. He would concur with COSATU that relegating the arms deal investigation to the dustbin of history is an aberration to what we stand for as a movement. Hani would share our astonishment at the fact that billions were wasted in procuring arms instead of investing in more quality houses, education and clinics for the poor, increasing the percentage of people who can access clean water as well as electricity.

COSATU knows that it would have the full support of comrades such as Chris Hani in arguing that no more should the working class give blank cheques to those in power, that no more will the poor be used as voting cattle. No more will the working class be emotionally and ideologically blackmailed into becoming voting cattle and lapdogs, while no economic benefit accrues to it. He would agree with us that we need to ensure that the most committed, honest and hard-working servants of the people are elected as ANC public representatives in the upcoming local government elections.

We are certain that Chris Hani would share our interpretation of the recent ANC NGC as a success. He would be jubilant that this gathering defended the Polokwane resolutions with vigour and made serious inroads into reversing the tendencies that he referred to in the 1969 memorandum. He would also be very happy that the ANC branches in no uncertain terms warned that ill discipline should no longer be tolerated. But this should not be interpreted to mean that the ANC has a right to discipline leaders of other organisations when they speak on mandated policy directives of the organisations they lead.

As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of COSATU this December, we need to ask what Hani would think of the workers' movement today.

We can all learn from Hani's passion to ensure the maximum unity of the progressive forces. This is the thinking that lies behind the upcoming Civil Society Conference on 27-28 October. This conference is inspired by Hani's words to civil society organisations during the CODESA negotiations, that

This is not the time to emphasise our differences. It is our job to build on the highest level of unity we can develop to take ourselves forward, not to narrow sectarian goals but the broad democratic system that is in all of our interests.[1]

The struggle against social injustice, poverty and deprivation can only be won through a united front, dedicated to putting an end to the capitalist honeymoon that we have been experiencing since 1994. 

Being a staunch believer in the dictum that the masses are the makers of history, Chris Hani would urge all of us to push the workers' wagon forward. He would warn that without mass power, we must all forget about liberating ourselves from the shackles of capitalism and apartheid.

I want to be like Chris Hani! Let all of us be inspired by his examples and deeds that need to be emulated.

Thank you!

[Issued by COSATU, October 23, 2010.]

Comments

Do think Vavi means this character?

Zwelinzima Vavi writes: "[Hani] would have told those running around demanding to be elected at the next congress because they are young, that Walter Sisulu became the youngest ever secretary general not because he was young but because he was the finest leader of our movement."

I suspect he had this charatcer in mind:

Malema: Vavi 'must be put where he belongs'

Emsie Ferreira, Franschoek, Mail & Guardian, 30 October 2010

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema launched a stinging attack on Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi on Friday night, saying the trade unionist must be cut down to size.

"The man must be put where he belongs," he told a fundraiser in Franschhoek that forms part of the youth league's 66th birthday celebrations.

His broadside was fuelled by Vavi's criticism of the lavish lifestyle of businessman Kenny Kunene.

"The workers have no interest in whether a young man throws a party or not. They're working in mines underground in difficult conditions.

"Helen Zille no longer has a job to do because a union leader is doing the job for her. It is opposition from within casting doubt on the credibility of his people's government."

Malema said there was no shame in being a black capitalist.

"They want you to remain poor and die poor, and once you've died poor people will see that there is no need to join this organisation.

"We have no reason to apologise. We are young. We will never apologise for partying. It is our responsibility."

Nationalisation

Malema reiterated a call for the state to control 60% of South Africa's mining resources.

He said those who objected to nationalisation were merely defending the interests of the Rupert family.

"When people say you are scaring investors they are just referring to one family in Stellenbosch. They call it investors but it's just one family."

Malema said the private sector need not fear plans to redistribute wealth.

"Forty percent will remain in private hands. We appreciate the role of private business people. You will still get something."

He was addressing a handful of local business people in the Western Cape hamlet.

Guests paid R10 000 a table to attend the event -- which started about three hours late -- according to ANC Western Cape organiser Millicent Tingwe.

It preceded an ANCYL rally in Stellenbosch on Saturday where Malema and President Jacob Zuma were due to share the stage. – Sapa

From: http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-10-30-malema-vavi-must-be-put-where-he-...

SASCO on the anti-communist `New Tendency' in the ANC

From http://www.politicsweb.co.za/politicsweb/view/politicsweb/en/page71619?o...

A New Tendency of accumulators has arisen from the ashes in the ANC and the liberation movement and has begun a most reactionary anti-communist program. This New Tendency is in cahoots with the emergent black bourgeoisie. This Tendency is represented by those who played a role in the ousting of the 1996 class project in Polokwane.

Its locomotive is its unparalleled urge to accumulate through the state and the fact that it sees the national liberation movement as its vehicle to state institutions. It has brought with it a most backward and anti-democratic delinquent subculture in the movement, which is that of disruption of meetings if they do not go according to its wishes.

We are of the view that the New Tendency poses a strategic threat to the National Democratic Revolution. Counter-revolutionary activity takes place when some in the liberation movement conspire against the poor and working class. We call on all our structures to combat, isolate and defeat the New Tendency as part of their contribution to defeating counter-revolutionaries.

South African Communist Party

We are of the view that the SACP, like any organization is undergoing a process of development and renewal. As SASCO we are not entirely happy some approaches of the SACP on specific matters and we are willing to engage the Party on these. We call on those who have identified themselves as opponents of the SACP to reconsider their ways. We will do all in our capacity to defend and develop the SACP.

We will do all on our capacity to assist the SACP advance the struggle for Socialism in South Africa. We will organize an urgent meeting with the SACP in order to raise our dissatisfaction on specific matters, we
will not do that in public.

Declaration of the Civil Society Conference

Declaration of the Civil Society Conference held on 27-28 October 2010, Boksburg

The Civil Society Conference held on 27-28 October 2010 was a historic turning point in the history of South Africa. Over 300 delegates from 56 mass-based civil society organisations, with a combined membership of millions of South Africans, came together to rebuild a strong, mass democratic movement which will work with the people and the government to tackle the massive social problems with which we are confronted.

South African citizens have a constitution and laws which give better guarantees of social justice, human rights and equality than almost anywhere else in the world. Yet in practice millions are denied these rights, especially socio-economic rights, in what has become the most unequal nation in the world.

The apartheid fault lines remain in place in employment, healthcare, education, housing, transport, and across the spectrum. A rich, mainly white, minority gets the lion's share of wealth and economic power, access to world class services in the private sector and a lifestyle amongst the most luxurious in the world.

The rich elite earn millions by exploiting the labour of the working class. A minority, including some of our own former comrades in public office, make their millions by corruptly manipulating opportunities to win tenders, bribing officials or using political connections

Meanwhile the mainly black poor majority suffer from deep and widespread poverty, huge levels of unemployment, pathetic levels of service delivery in healthcare and education, housing and transport, and little hope of escaping from a life of struggling to survive from day to day.

We are one of the most unequal countries in the world, and unless we mobilise for change, the levels of inequality will become entrenched.

The conference agreed that corruption goes to the heart of social justice and that as well as backing the government's efforts to investigate corruption allegations, we need a civil society anti-corruption mechanism should be a civil society owned initiative.

The conference debated three main areas:

1. Social justice

The conference agreed to the concept of a Social Justice Charter, which can be used as a campaigning tool to mobilise society, particularly workers and communities, around issues of social justice.

We have many good laws and policies, but implementation is lacking.
We must carry forward implementing real justice rather than stopping at passing laws and adopting policies on paper. Laws are often too complex in design and content and not accessible to ordinary people whom the law is supposed to protect.

Access to justice is unaffordable, so that those who can't afford to access the institutions of justice are excluded from exercising their rights and achieving social justice. The current system favours those who can afford to access judicial institutions and therefore creates barrier to access justice rather than promoting access.

The Charter can also help to mobilise and empower people on ethical issues, especially the fight against corruption in health care, local government, the education system and other key areas.

The Charter must trigger the implementation of existing policies and laws and assist poor communities to be aware of them. Any new Charter must speak to strategy and reflect civil society values. It can't simply repeat principles already in the Constitution but must expand on principles such as public participation to enforce social justice

It must reflect the duty of civil society to hold government accountable - to achieve social justice delivery, and acknowledge the fragmentation and weakness of our organisations, which has led to deepening of poverty in South Africa, while expressing the need for solidarity and unity of civil society.

The conference agreed that the Charter must be used to get municipalities to truly engage communities in public participation, ensuring that public broadcasting reflects the voice of the people and addressing related issues of economic and gender justice.

Delegates also agreed on the need to develop a communication strategy to build a coalition amongst social justice organisation working in different areas across the country to support each other's work and have a greater voice. There will be annual meetings of labour and civil society to take forward the social justice movement.

Refugees and immigrants must receive exactly the same standards of justice, not the appalling service many receive today.
Civil society must engage in public education on the Constitution to empower poor communities to fight for their rights and change the current balance of power.

2. Economic Growth

The delegates endorsed the COSATU Growth path for Full Employment document but agreed that it must be simplified and articulated in the vernacular so it serves as a weapon of empowerment for labour and the unemployed and a popular tool for the people.

Conference called for a broad political programme which will focus on the concrete, tilt the balance of forces and become a catalyst to drive change.

Conference urged COSATU to advance a social solidarity economy, particularly in regard to workers in the informal economy. Decent work programmes should be formalised, with workers dictating the agenda.

There is a need to strengthen the regulatory framework to regulate and improve working conditions, particularly in areas the retail, agricultural and hospitality sectors. Self-regulation by business is dangerous, particularly if we depend on external investment because of the revolving door between regulators and capital.

We support the creation of co-ops, but have to guard against fake co-ops, which are sometimes created to by-pass labour legislation, and to guard against disguised forms of exploitation.

Conference expressed concerns about the idea of a social pact. Workers should not be coerced into pacts with government or employers that will lead to lower wages or worse working conditions. It was also noted, however, that some pacts can be positive and that it is not the pacts in themselves that are problematic, but the potentially harmful content. We should be cautious about an across-the-board dismissal of social pacts as they are a reality in trade union work.

On labour market flexibility, it was noted that the government blames labour broking for unemployment, but continues to propose to regulate labour brokers. We need to run serious campaigns for banning of labour broking in order to facilitate job security.

The blacklisting of people by the credit bureaus needs to be addressed urgently because it is affecting unemployed people's ability to penetrate the job market.

The tax-GDP ratio in South Africa is far lower than other comparable countries. There is space to increase tax which could furnish the government with billions of rands more to implement important programmes, such as NHI, and help to eliminate inequality.

The document needs to be clearer on the idea of the "green economy" and sustainable development. We need to move towards sustainable energy, to migrate the economy from one based on a coal to a low carbon or possibly carbon-free economy. The renewable energy sector will grow, needing different skills and different locations. We have to make sure that we are in charge of this process and do not become the objects of it. We need to reduce carbon in the economy and increase zero-waste jobs.

We need an integrated, unified strategy if this notion is going to be made a reality, including lobbying and engaging with the private sector. We must build industrial townships linked to eco-agriculture and green buildings. Land development and housing programmes are of little use if they come without access to sustainable energy and water. Nuclear power must be explicitly rejected.

Water and electricity are the first conditions of growing the economy, therefore we must mandate to audit what is actually happening. Green jobs need to be expanded beyond households. It is very important for energy to be absorbed into the national grid.

There is a need to drive innovations that appeal to consumers so that they buy local goods.

The issue of gender needs to be stronger in the document. South Africa should take the lead in making policies and institutionalising gender equality and empowerment in the economy.

We shall oppose infrastructure development that only serves the rich, for example the high-speed train from Durban to Johannesburg.

We need increased transparency around the treasury and the use of public money. In this light we reject the Protection of Information Bill as it is incompatible with the right of access to information.

The document is quite strong on skills development but the new SETA landscape lacks detail. Employers must be forced to meet skills targets. There should be more specific skills training within employment, so that there can be greater mobility between work areas.

We must ensure that these inputs from labour and civil society gatherings are formally integrated into the COSATU document. There is a need for further joint COSATU-Civil Society meetings and institutions to fight corruption. The institutions must be fully resourced so that they are not just platforms of discussion, but bodies that have teeth.

Conference affirmed its support for a basic income grant to cater for those millions of the poor who do not qualify for the existing grants. It was agreed that policies must acknowledge the role of traditional leaders and the place of tradition culture in South Africa.

It was agreed that 2011 should be declared a year of mass mobilisation on economic policy and against unemployment, poverty and inequality.

3. Advancing Rights to Health and Education

Conference supported the National Health Insurance in principle, but expressed concerns regarding the model to be used, the implementation strategy and the many unknowns around the content of the NHI envisaged. We caution against an NHI bureaucracy that will become another feeding trough for the predatory elite. We call for government to publicly release an NHI policy to be discussed in an open and transparent manner.

While the NHI policy is developed, the Department of Health must continue to move forward on the Minister's 10 point plan in order to strengthen the public health care system in the interim and for when NHI begins to be rolled out.

Implementation of NHI must start in under-served areas where it is most needed and rolled out from there.

Community Health Workers are a critical component of public health care, but are exploited by the failure to respect their rights as workers. Community Health Workers must be formally brought into the health care system as employees of the Department of Health and unionised.

The Department of Health must fill all vacancies and stop the practice of freezing posts across the country as a cost curtailment measure.

Self-regulated, industrial- and sector-based healthcare facilities should be supported and strengthened by the NHI, not undermined.

While National Health Insurance is a necessary intervention, we must also combat the social determinants of health, including unemployment, poor housing, stress, alcohol abuse and poor education.

A campaigns committee should be formed that will co-ordinate the campaigns of labour and civil society around many of the questions that cannot be answered in the absence of a specific government plan on NHI.

Education is a cornerstone of any country, but the system in South Africa has been in crisis now for more than 10 years, with little improvement and insufficient attention from both government and civil society. Civil society has not sufficiently mobilised around education and too often even parents are uninvolved in the education of their children.

The conference agreed to a national campaign on education, to ensure the proper functioning and resourcing of schools, a National Fund for Education, funded by business, to improve the training of teachers and the curriculum. We are calling for all public representatives to enrol their children in public schools and to use public health institutions

The models for how we move the education system forward must be debated, for instance whether the Model C and private schools should be brought into a unitary public school system or allowed to co-exist.

There is no and there will not be a magic bullet that can resolve the problems in the education system as they are complex but the poor quality of the system and of teaching trap learners in a cycle of poverty and drag down the whole country by poorly preparing students for the working world.

To begin addressing the crisis in education, labour and civil society must rally together to build campaigns around:

* The urgency of infrastructure in schools - particularly at schools that are in crisis.
* The curriculum that will be taught to ensure that it produces adequate students with the learning they will need in the working world.
* Budget monitoring of the education department and the fair distribution of resources to urban and rural areas.
* Post-provision that is proper and re-distributive between areas that are relatively well resourced and those that are not.
* Better co-ordinated teacher development and training and ensuring that teachers, and other public-sector workers, are paid the salaries that they deserve.
* Civil society, trade unions, parents and learners must all be responsible for education. There must be an active campaign to attract parents into the school system and make sure that parents are taking an active role in the education of their children and the education system.
* Building a culture of learning and reading in South Africa.

Improving the governance of the school system.

It was agreed that Civil Society Conferences like this should be held annually and replicated in all provinces and regions within three months, and that a consolidated directory of civil society organisations be drawn up, with the first edito to be published in 2011, and that we help each other to access funding.

Conference agreed to support and campaign for the post-World Cup Declaration, launched by COSATU after the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup, which will commit us all to:

1. Remain united behind Bafana Bafana other national teams and do everything possible to promote soccer, which remains the biggest and most popular sport, yet is seriously under-developed. We need to develop academies to hone the skills of unknown South African Peles, Drogbas and Ronaldos, who have no opportunity for their skills to be recognised.
2. Bring down the astronomical levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality, which blight our land. Even as we prepare to host the World Cup, jobs continued to disappear, inequalities continued to grow and poverty remain widespread after the World Cup. We need a new economic growth path that will help address these challenges with necessary urgency and speed.
3. Address the challenges of our education system. The 1-Goal Campaign and the Nelson Mandela Day celebrations offer an opportunity to take our international icon's dream to new heights. We call on government to prioritise building and refurbishing schools and to ensure that all schools receive adequate support from the education departments at all levels. We must move beyond the call for all to donate books and build school libraries on Nelson Mandela Day and run for 12 months until every school functions and is a centre of empowerment to build a new generation that can take our dreams to a new height.
4. Unite behind a goal of transforming our health system and implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme. We have to fix our public hospitals and defeat the scourge of HIV/AIDS to build a healthy nation and improve our country's life expectancy.
5. Address underdevelopment and poverty in rural areas. This campaign should address food insecurity and empower our people to use land that currently is misused, so that people can produce the food they need and escape from their deep levels of unemployment and poverty.
6. Lead a campaign against crime and corruption. We can build on the successes of the World Cup by sending out an unequivocal message that crime does not pay. Corruption is stealing from the poor to feed into narrow elites' selfish accumulation interests. Corruption kills the spirits of the majority, black and white, who want to work hard to build their country.
7. Mobilise to fix the energy challenge the country is facing. We need more action and not empty words to ensure that South Africa moves out of the current crisis. Imagine a day when thousands of activists move door-to-door handing over pamphlets to our people educating them about the benefits of saving electricity.
8. Mobilise to address the looming water shortage crises so that we do not wait for 2025 when the problem will be much more intense. Let us through our people hold the mine bosses who have been allowed after making billions to abandon their now empty mines and pollute our water. Let us defend our environment and keep our country beautiful and natural whilst also developing.
9. Mobilise the working class and educate them to appreciate that no matter how bad living conditions are, there can be no excuse for blaming fellow-Africans and other foreign nationals for the country's and continent's economic failures. Let us do everything possible to prevent a new outbreak of xenophobic attacks in some of our poorest communities. They are not the cause but the fellow victims of our unjust and unequal economic system. Workers and the poor must stand united against the common enemies of capitalist greed and corruption.
10. Lastly and most importantly, address the massive challenges of underdevelopment in the continent. Africa cannot succeed in developing its economies and transforming the lives of our people while it is still ravaged by poverty. Let us defeat the tyrants in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Sudan and elsewhere whose refusal to vacate their positions and allow democracy means that can be no hope of Africa ever rising to ensure a coordinated effort to defeat under development. Let us mobilise to free our people in Western Sahara from their colonial masters!

The conference agreed that a timetable for action be drawn up for the implementation of all these campaigns.

Finally the Conference agreed to back the call by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu on the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra to cancel their planned trip to apartheid Israel.

More from Vavi, on ANC and crony capitalist corruption

Cosatu criticises 'neo-liberal' budget
MATUMA LETSOALO AND MMANALEDI MATABOGE, M&G, 29 October 2010

Trade union federation Cosatu is not giving up on President Jacob Zuma -- at least for now. But the federation's top officials still had scorching words for this week's medium-term budget.

Cosatu's efforts to shape the debate on the country's new economic direction were dealt a major blow when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan's budget and government's new growth path statement fell short of endorsing the federation's own economic-policy preferences.

But, in spite of the Zuma administration's repeated snubbing of the left's demands for radical changes to economic policy, Cosatu's two top officials this week expressed full confidence in the president.

Sdumo Dlamini, the federation's president, and Zwelinzima Vavi, its general secretary, also said they hoped government would include the alliance partners' proposals in its new growth path.

The proposals include slashing inflation targeting, reviewing the Reserve Bank's mandate and bringing strategic sectors of the economy under state ownership.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian, Dlamini implied that though Zuma was the leader of both the government and the ANC, he was not in charge when it came to crucial policy decisions.

He blamed some within Zuma's Cabinet who "would stop at nothing to maintain the neo-liberal policies introduced by former president Thabo Mbeki".

Dlamini did not mention names, but Cosatu has in the past accused both Gordhan and Planning Minister Trevor Manuel of resisting the changes to government policies that the ANC's 2007 Polokwane resolutions prescribed. "Zuma is not even voting on policy matters," Dlamini said. "It would be unfair to judge him on what his Cabinet ministers say or do."

'Far better' than Mbeki
But Zuma is still "far better" than Mbeki, who "marginalised Cosatu and even the ANC", Dlamini said. "Unlike before, now there is consultation [with all alliance partners].

"We might not agree on whether the alliance or the ANC should be the centre of power, but we are happy with his [Zuma's] leadership. We do not regret our decision to support him as ANC president in 2007."

In spite of this week's setbacks, Vavi said he was still hopeful Cosatu would influence the new growth path when it discussed it with the government.

"The president has assured us that they will talk to us. We believe that they will listen and meet us halfway."

He said there was "no chance in a blue moon" that South Africa would create the promised 5 million jobs in 10 years promised in government's growth strategy if fiscal and monetary policies did not change.

"We like acting in tandem with countries that have far less poverty than us and yet we want to be good boys all the time," Vavi said.

"We should be boldly selfish. We are very good boys in the zoo and yet we are not gaining anything from that. We have political medals without the economic jewellery."

Cosatu will not sign any social pact that will introduce wage moderation as another way of helping to create jobs, as proposed in Gordhan's mini budget statement, Vavi said. "We can never, ever co-operate with anything that calls for moderation of workers' salaries. We will remain militant, we will continue to demand better wages."

Government must not force Cosatu "into the chicken and pig sacrifice where they decide to have breakfast and the chicken must donate an egg while the pig donates bacon", Vavi said. "It is immoral to even suggest that, because the pig will be dead for it to donate bacon."

'Neo-liberal politics'
Relaxing of exchange controls to encourage trade growth would be "a disaster", Vavi said, arguing that South Africa would be dumping the strategy that had saved the country from being ruined by the recession.

"I cannot believe these neo-liberal politics," he said, pointing out that Cosatu was "getting tired" of fighting the same battles with different government administrations.

Dlamini's show of confidence in the opinion of Zuma contrasts sharply with Thobile Ntola, the fiery president of teacher union Sadtu, who, earlier this month, blasted Zuma for failing to deliver on promises made to the poor.

Unlike other Cosatu leaders who want Zuma to serve a second term as ANC president, Ntola said no one, including Zuma, was guaranteed re-election at the ANC's elective conference in 2012.

"We will have to evaluate each and every ANC leader at the end of their term before we decide who needs to be re-elected," Ntola told the M&G.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, a former union leader, told the M&G that Cosatu and business concerns were both considered in putting the growth-path policy together.

"We see both constituencies as vital to its success," he said. "The details of what all constituencies, including government, will need to do differently will be the subject of detailed and focused social dialogue."

On Dlamini's blaming of some Cabinet ministers for current economic policy, Zuma's spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, said: "The president is part of the executive. The budget is a decision of a collective Cabinet that is chaired by the president."
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2.2 Vavi's high-life war hots up
Union boss is a hypocrite, says tycoon
By BONGANI MDAKANE, The Times, 29 October 2010

COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been given a taste of his own medicine after crossing swords with a wealthy Johannesburg businessman.

Last Thursday, Kenny Kunene spent R700, 000 on his 40th birthday party at the upmarket ZAR Lounge nightclub, which he owns.

His party featured models, who were painted grey, strutting around in lingerie.

Another model was draped on a table, and party-goers nibbled sushi served on her stomach.

Kunene's guests included presidential spokesman Zizi Kodwa, ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, Malema's spokesman, Floyd Shivambu, and socialite Khanyi Mbau.

The booze included Dom Pérignon, Cristal and Moët&Chandon champagnes, and Chivaz Regal whisky.

On Wednesday, at the Civil Society conference in Boksburg, Vavi lashed out at "the BEE types who blow up to R700, 000 in one night on parties", calling them members of the "predatory elite".

"I am told at one party sushi was served from the bodies of half-naked ladies.

"It is the sight of these parties, where the elite display their wealth, often secured by questionable methods, that turns my stomach."

In a strongly worded response, a furious Kunene said: "Your tongue is like a rap sheet from a police printer."

Kunene, who is a senior executive of Central Rand Gold mining company, is a former teacher who spent six years in the Free State's Grootvlei Prison for fraud. He denied being a "BEE type".

"I've never benefited from any BEE deal, I've never applied for nor won a tender, and I do no work for government. I am grateful that my businesses are successful, and they allow me to buy the same things that others may have had to be corrupt to buy," he said.

Kunene said if Vavi cared so much for the poor, he should stop wearing "high-collar designer shirts".

"Why don't you sell your house and live in a shack. Why don't you stop meeting in top-class restaurants to hold court on the suffering of the masses?

"You say that my so-called R700, 000 party is a 'corruption of morality' and that I'm 'spitting in the face of the poor'. I should not have to defend what I spend on a huge milestone in my life, when it's honest money and we were having honest fun.

"You are clearly no stranger to the good life, as you had a lavish wedding two years ago, with horse-drawn carriages no less."

Yesterday, Vavi said in an SMS that he had not seen Kunene's letter. "I have not seen that honestly. I don't even want to see it, nor do I want to have an exchange with him. I have more important things to do.

"Why do you want me to brawl with a pig in the mud. I can't do that."

Kunene responded, saying: "If he doesn't exchange words with me, why was my party important yesterday and today is not important?"

Although he didn't mention names on Wednesday, Vavi had scathing words for the party guests. "The corrupting morality [of] our public representatives is seen in these parties ...

"Next year, this elite will not go out door-to door to get out people to vote.

"But soon thereafter they will host victory parties to scavenge on the carcass of our people like the typical hyenas that they are."

Shivambu said yesterday said he did not "want to respond to sheer opportunism by individuals who are driven by jealousy and petty politics. If truth be told, the general secretary of Cosatu is obsessed with the leadership of the ANCYL, and is recurrently trying to portray everyone as corrupt," he said.

"But it looks like he's also provoking suspension from the ANC so that he can form his own political party."

Kunene said Vavi was jealous as he was not invited and Malema was. The trade unionist, he said, was "only too happy to attend Robert Gumede's R50-million wedding held in full view of the poorest of the poor". - Additional reporting Amukelani Chauke
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2.3 Vavi's sushi war hots up
Andile April, Sowetan, 29 October 2010
COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi must "go hang himself or go to hell". This is said by businessman Kenny Kunene in a scathing letter sent to Sowetan yesterday.

Kunene's outburst was triggered by Vavi's statement about political high-flyers who he says make him sick by spending their time eating sushi from the bodies of half-naked women.

Kunene, who co-owns ZAR Bar Lounge, an expensive nightspot in Sandton with business partner Gayton McKenzie, celebrated 40 years on October 21 at a party that was reported to have cost R700,000.

He also describes himself as an executive shareholder of mining company Rand Gold.

He said in his letter he spent more than R700,000 and he would have a follow-up party in Welkom this weekend to which "Vavi is not invited".

Kunene describes himself as self-made and does "not hide behind his wife's businesses like Vavi. Unlike you, who did not address me directly in your comments to the media".

In his letter, Kunene agrees with Vavi that there is corruption in the country. "There is cronyism, nepotism, bribery and everything else that rolls off your tongue like a rap sheet from a police printer."

But he distances himself from these social ills. "I'm grateful that my businesses are successful and they allow me to buy the same things that others may have had to be corrupt to buy. But just because a corrupt official bought a sports car, and I also bought a sports car doesn't imply I'm also corrupt."

Vavi responded: "I won't be dragged down the mud with Kunene. "People won't be able to tell the difference between me and him, so I won't stoop that low."

Free State-born Kunene says he has never benefitted from any BEE deal. His party was attended by the who's who of business, celebs, soccer players, Julius Malema and President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

Kunene writes: "You say that my so-called R700,000 party is a 'corruption of morality' and that I'm spitting in the face of the poor. I should not have to defend what I spend on a huge milestone in my life, when it's honest money and we were having honest fun."
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2.4 You’re jealous, Vavi told

By Carien du Plessis, The Star, 29 October 2010

Business tycoon Kenny Kunene has told Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to “go hang or go to hell” after the labour federation leader criticised Kunene’s R700 000 weekend birthday party.

An unapologetic Kunene replied in a two-and-a-half-page “open letter” to Vavi yesterday, saying Vavi had attacked him and his party because ANC Youth League president Julius Malema had been invited, and Vavi had not.

Kunene said Vavi would not be invited to the next party, either.

Malema “was there because he recognises excellence from black business people and, unlike you, he does not condemn wealth indiscriminately”, Kunene said. “He realises that the future greatness of this country lies in the hands of those of us willing to compete to be the best.”

But Kunene said Vavi was “only too happy” to attend the R50 million wedding of businessman Robert Gumede last month.

Vavi told a Cosatu and civil society conference on Wednesday that lavish parties like Kunene’s were “corrupting morality” and amounted to “spitting in the face of the poor”, which made him “sick”, Vavi said.

He also railed against sushi being served off the bodies of “half-naked ladies”, but Kunene did not address this in his reply.

Kunene said he wanted to “correct your misapprehension that my party cost R700 000. It cost more”.

He said he had made his money honestly and did not do business with the government.

Kunene added that Vavi himself had had a “lavish wedding two years ago, with horse-drawn carriages, no less”.

In his letter, he said he had been in prison in the 1980s for “supporting the Struggle so that no one would be able to tell me how to live my life”.

“If you care so much for the poor, then why don’t you stop wearing your high-collar designer shirts, sell your house and live in a shack, and stop meeting in top-class restaurants to hold court on the suffering of the masses?”

Kunene said he planned a “follow-up party” this weekend “for the underprivileged and poor, who are also part of my life, and always will be”.

Vavi, when showed the letter while attending the final day of the Cosatu civil society and labour conference yesterday, laughed at it, as well as the length of the reply. - The Mercury

Vavi's address to Civil Society Conference, October 27, 2010

Keynote address to the Civil Society Conference by Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU, 27 October 2010, Boksburg How can we build on the World Cup success and mobilise our society to build a more egalitarian nation

Comrade COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini Comrade TAC Chairperson, Nonkosi Khumalo Representatives of COSATU, NACTU, FEDUSA and CONSAWU Representatives of civil society formations Comrades and friends

Inspired by the African proverb that says ‘If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together’, we gather here - as the progressive trade unions, social movements, NGOs, progressive academics, small business and street vendor associations, taxi associations, religious bodies, youth organisations, environmental groups, indigenous peoples’ groups and other progressive formations - to say to ourselves that we have the capacity to make a decisive contribution in changing our current situation for the better.

Internationally, globalisation and neoliberal have launched assaults on the working class, which include, but are not limited to: informalisation, flexibilisation, regionalisation of states, deregulation, marketisation, financialisation, and securitisation. The global governance, commercial and trade system is supported by political and ideological institutions, rules and enforcement mechanisms that only broad civil society coalitions have historically been able to challenge successfully.

In South Africa, the GEAR strategy epitomised the dominance of the neoliberal ideology within the leading sections of the government. The neoliberal logic still continues to be dominant, in spite of some talk about a developmental state. Increasingly though it has taken a more crude political expression and there are some emerging elements that tend to perceive the working class and active elements of civil society as merely being a nuisance that must be crushed with the might of the state apparatus.

Today, as we gather here, there is panic in the ranks of the predatory elite, which is a new coalition of the tenderpreneurs. Paranoia elsewhere is deepening with the political elite, convincing itself that any gathering of independent civil society formations to confront our challenges is a threat to them.

Let us right from onset state that we are not an anti-ANC and anti-government coalition. We are not here to begin a process to form any political party, nor to advance the interest of any individual. We have only one enemy – neoliberalism, that has condemned our people to poverty and unemployment. We want to roll back neoliberal advances and struggle for the adoption and implementation of alternatives. Our struggles have to be both defensive and offensive.

We are friends to all genuinely anti-neoliberal and pro-poor and working class political parties that have an undisputable record of struggle to advance our interests as the marginalised societies.

We gather here to say another South Africa is possible! Another world is possible!

On 11 July, just four months ago, all South Africans were basking in the reflected glory of our successful hosting of the best-ever FIFA world Cup. The whole world saw our country at its best – united, efficient, friendly and enthusiastic.

The question we were all asking was – if we can organise such a brilliant event so well, how can we use the qualities that contributed to that World Cup triumph to create jobs, build houses, provide education for our children, launch a free national health service and solve all the other major problems we face.

So we urged the government and every union, civil society formation, political party, business and faith organisation to sign a new declaration in support of a programme to rebuild our country and build a lasting legacy of the 2010 World Cup.

Today’s historic conference takes this decision forward. It brings together the people who are best able to meet this challenge - South African civil society and trade unions.  The forces we represent here today can - and indeed must - have a decisive say in the future of our country. Our goal must be to forge a strong, united movement for change.

A similar united social movement - of COSATU, the UDF, civic movements and progressive NGOs - played a critical role - alongside the unbanned ANC and SACP - in bringing the racist dictatorship to its knees in those decisive years leading up to our democratic breakthrough in
1994.

The challenges we face today are different but nevertheless very major and require a similar mobilisation of the democratic forces as we saw in those years.

Comrades and friends

In our 16 years of democracy we have achieved major advances. We have a democratic Constitution and many laws, which have given South Africans basic rights, on paper at least, to freedom, dignity and equality.

There have been significant important improvements in the lives of millions of our people. As examples: In 1996, only 3 million people had access to social grants; today the figure is 14 million. In 1996,
58% of the population had access to electricity; today the figure is
80%. In 1996, 62% of the population had access to running water; today the figure is 88%. We have built 3.1 million subsidised houses, giving shelter to over 15 million people.

Despite our historic victories on the political battlefield, however, in the economic arena, many of the problems we faced in 1994 are still very much with us in 2010.

The central challenge is that our economic structure, in particular the distribution of wealth and income, remains largely unchanged, and in one crucial respect – inequality - has worsened, to become the widest in the world, and it also still reflects the racial and gender features of apartheid, with wealth and financial power still predominantly in the hands of white males.

The top 20 paid directors in JSE listed companies earned on average 1
728 times the average income of a South African worker while state-owned enterprises paid CEOs 194 times an average worker's income.

Typical of everything that is wrong with our society today, is this week’s announcement that Standard Bank, whose CEO Jacko Maree received a massive R18, 2m in 2009 alone, intends to retrench over 2000 staff, making workers pay the price for their bosses’ extravagance and incompetence.

In the 21 months from January 2009 to September 2010, we have lost 1
145 000 jobs, which, as we keep saying means that because each wage earner supports on average five dependents, more than 5.7 million people were thrown into poverty. The latest figures released yesterday reveal that the official rate of unemployment is still rising, even if more slowly, to 25.3%; a further 45 000 jobs were lost in the third quarter of 2010.

In education - although we have made progress in many areas, such as the improved access to education, in particular for girl children, reduction of the teacher to pupil ratio, the introduction of more no-fee schools, etc. - black working class students are still at the receiving end of an unequal system. We have not transformed the education system in either quality or quantity.

The drop-out rate for children who started school in 1998 was 64%. Our matric pass rate last year was 60.6%. A staggering 70% of (matric) exam passes are accounted for by just 11% of schools, where the mainly white rich can buy their children top-quality education. The culture of learning and teaching has collapsed and many of our schools, in particular in the former blacks only residential areas are dysfunctional. Many of our schools have no libraries and no laboratories.

It is the same story in our healthcare service. The apartheid fault lines persist. While the mainly white wealthy can buy world-class healthcare in the private sector, 86% of mainly black poor have to struggle to get any service at all in an under-funded, understaffed public sector where in some parts patients are told to bring their own bedding and with only Panado available, in filthy hospitals where rights of patients are hung on the wall but not their living reality.

Although we rank 79th globally in terms of GDP per capita, we rank
178th in terms of life expectancy, 130th in terms of infant mortality, and 119th in terms of doctors per 1000 people.

The HIV and AIDS epidemic has worsened our situation, with life expectancy dropping from 62 years in 1992, to 50 years in 2006. Yet we know that in terms of South African Institute of Race Relations survey in 2009, the life expectancy of a white South African now stands at 71 years and that of a black South African at 48.

Comrades and friends

The high levels of poverty and inequality aggravate many other anti-social phenomena which we see increasingly – violent community protests, xenophobia crime, corruption and the collapse of social and moral values. We face not just personal and family disasters but a national catastrophe, a ticking bomb, which has already begun to explode in our poorest communities.

This was our reasoning behind calling this summit. We can’t stand there making speeches without developing a programme that will mobilise our society to stop this ticking bomb from exploding. “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Corruption in particular is a matter of life and death for our democracy. Day after day we see allegations of trusted public representatives being accused of using their position to enrich themselves and their families. Some allegations may be groundless; most public officials are honest servants of the people. But only full investigations into every allegation will clear the innocent and lead to the conviction and punishment of those who steal from the poor who put them in power. We should give our full support to the government’s efforts to bring offenders to justice.

The source of the problem has always been the capitalist system, which is run on the principle of ‘me-first’. Whilst workers’ universal slogan is “an injury to one is an injury to all” the capitalist mentality daily practises: “an injury to one is an opportunity to another”.

For every official who receives a bribe there is a businessperson who gives the bribe to ‘persuade’ the official to use his or her political power to advance private commercial interests. This is the biggest threat to our efforts to establish a transparent and corruption-free government.

It is even worse when the public representatives themselves, or family members, are getting rich from government tenders. The mere fact that they are in business to make money creates an inevitable conflict of interest when they are legislating in parliament, a provincial legislature or municipal council. The danger always exists that in formulating policy, they will be guided by the impact this will have on their businesses rather than the broader public interest.  We have called on our public representatives and union leaders to choose between being people’s representatives or being in business.

It is greed that is inspired by the conspicuous consumption of the new elite – the BEE types who blow up to R700 000 on one-night in parties that makes the public representatives not want to live within the means provided by their salaries and rather hefty perks.

The corrupting morality our public representatives is seen in these parties. where I am told in one party sushi was served from bodies of half naked ladies. It is the sight of these parties where the elite display their wealth often secured in questionable methods that turn my stomach. It is this spitting on the face of the poor and insulting their integrity that makes me sick. Next year this elite will not go out door-to-door to get our people to vote. But soon thereafter they will host victory parties to scavenge on the carcass of our people like the typical hyenas that they are.

Our belief is that if we were to confiscate all the medical aids, that most of us here have; if our cabinet Ministers and MPs were forced to take their children to the public hospitals and be subjected to the same conditions as the poor; if we were to burn their private clinics and hospitals and private schools; if the children of the bosses were to be loaded into unsafe open bakkies to the dysfunctional township schools; if the high walls and electronic wired fences were to be removed; if all were forced to live on R322 a month, as 48% of the population has to do, and if their kids were to die without access to antiretrovirals, we would have long ago seen more decisive action on many of these fronts.

Our society in many ways is a very sick society. In addition to allowing these massive inequalities and for apartheid to continue in the economy, we are now sitting indifferent when the new elite is on rampage, humiliating the very motive force of our liberation struggle.

A few kilometres from where we are today hundreds of workers have not been paid for 10 months by their black empowerment bosses in the company called Aurora. Young people in their 20s and 30s have become overnight multimillionaires. A message is being sent out to our students that says: ‘Why work so hard when few correct political-sounding speeches and demagoguery can make you a multimillionaire’. It says to the genuine entrepreneurs: ‘Why sweat when political connections and greasing the hand of those in political office can make you an instant billionaire? We are rewarding laziness, greed and corruption and discouraging hard work, honesty and integrity.

In the process we making our political organisations new battlegrounds where we have replaced the apartheid regime in killing and poisoning those identified as a threat to the march to gain these not-worked-for riches. Look at what is happening in COPE, IFP? Now even Lucas Mangophe is not safe. Look at what is happening in the ANC in some provinces. Look at the number of splits in every political party. Genuineness is fast becoming a rare commodity!

But as the poor and the black people in general, we can’t afford to sit on our laurels and do nothing about these conditions. Our dream is that of a mobilised poor that takes its destiny into its own hands. Why must we allow our schools not to function when we have numbers to flood the school governing bodies, and insist that teachers must be at school all the time, must prepare for classes and must teach for 7 and half hours for five days a week?

Why are we not mobilising to deal with the ill-discipline of our own kids? Why are we not mobilising to change the culture of mainly working class parents and taking an active interest in the education our children? Why have we not mobilised to change the work ethics of our members in the public sector so that they give the first-class treatment to the poor who have no money to go and get better services in the private sector?

Why have we allowed criminals to take our freedom away and return to our townships after 1994, only to rape and murder us daily, one by one, when we have the power of the numbers to drive them out? Why are today allowing a new class of tenderpreneurs to threaten our freedom and impose stinking morality of greed?

Yes we are angry! Yes COSATU is angry! Yes our tolerance levels are running thin! We can no longer just fold our arms and do nothing. Today we are here to say we want our freedom back from the elite and all these rogue elements of our society. Their party must come to an end. We demand a more egalitarian society today and moving forward!

Comrades and friends

The roots of nearly all these problems lie in the failed economic policies adopted in 1996, centred around the misnamed Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy. It led to growth at a snail’s pace, higher unemployment and only redistributed wealth from the poor to the rich! It was a policy based on the misguided free-market, neoliberal policies of the ‘Washington consensus’, which led directly to the devastating worldwide economic crisis of 2008 and
2009.

The government yesterday announced its new growth path, which aims to create 5 million jobs by 2020, bringing the unemployment rate down to
15%. While we obviously welcome and support such a target, we shall have to study in detail how the government’s new growth plan will achieve this.

COSATU has accepted the challenge to produce its alternative strategy. In “A Growth path Towards Full Employment”, we set out a path which will transform our economy into one based on the expansion of manufacturing industry and the creation of decent and sustainable jobs. Let us hope we have persuaded government to base their new growth path strategy on the same principles.

But most important is that the strategy must be turned from words into deeds. It will be a tragedy if we miss this historic opportunity to build a developmental state and turn the economy around.

It would be a disaster if the government were to believe that we can continue with the status quo. It would mean condemning another generation of living with no jobs, no money and no hope. So I appeal to every organisation represented here today to sign the post-World Cup Declaration, which will commit us all to:

1.    Remain united behind Bafana Bafana and do everything possible to promote soccer, which remains the biggest and most popular sport, yet is seriously under-developed. We need to develop academies to hone the skills of unknown South African Peles, Drogbas and Ronaldos, who have no opportunity for their skills to be recognised.

2.    Bring down the astronomical levels of unemployment, poverty and inequality, which blight our land. Even as we prepare to host the World Cup, jobs continued to disappear, inequalities continued to grow and poverty remain widespread after the World Cup. We need a new economic growth path that will help address these challenges with necessary urgency and speed.

3.    Address the challenges of our education system. The 1-Goal Campaign and the Nelson Mandela Day celebrations offer an opportunity to take our international icon’s dream to new heights. We call on government to prioritise building and refurbishing schools and to ensure that all schools receive adequate support from the education departments at all levels. We must move beyond the call for all to donate books and build school libraries on Nelson Mandela Day and run for 12 months until every school functions and is a centre of empowerment to build a new generation that can take our dreams to a new height.

4.    Unite behind a goal of transforming our health system and implementing the National Health Insurance Scheme. We have to fix our public hospitals and defeat the scourge of HIV/AIDS to build a healthy nation and improve our country’s life expectancy.

5.    Address underdevelopment and poverty in rural areas. This campaign should address food insecurity and empower our people to use land that currently lies unused, so that people can produce the food they need and escape from their deep levels of unemployment and poverty.

6.    Lead a campaign against crime and corruption. We can build on the successes of the World Cup by sending out an unequivocal message that crime does not pay. Corruption is stealing from the poor to feed into narrow elites’ selfish accumulation interests. Corruption kills the spirits of the majority, black and white, who want to work hard to build their country.

7.    Mobilise to fix the energy challenge the country is facing. We need more action and not empty words to ensure that South Africa moves out of the current crisis. Imagine a day when thousands of activists move door-to-door handing over pamphlets to our people educating them about the benefits of saving electricity.

8.    Mobilise to address the looming water shortage crises so that we do not wait for 2025 when the problem will be much more intense. Let us through our people hold the mine bosses who have been allowed after making billions to abandon their now empty mines and pollute our water.  Let us defend our environment and keep our country beautiful and natural whilst also developing.

9.    Mobilise the working class and educate them to appreciate that no matter how bad living conditions are, there can be no excuse for blaming fellow-Africans and other foreign nationals for the country’s and continent’s economic failures. Let us do everything possible to prevent a new outbreak of xenophobic attacks in some of our poorest communities. They are not the cause but the fellow victims of our unjust and unequal economic system. Workers and the poor must stand united against the common enemies of capitalist greed and corruption.

10.    Lastly and most importantly, address the massive challenges of underdevelopment in the continent. Africa cannot succeed in developing its economies and transforming the lives of our people while it is still ravaged by poverty. Let us defeat the tyrants in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Sudan and elsewhere whose refusal to vacate their positions and allow democracy means that can be no hope of Africa ever rising to ensure a coordinated effort to defeat under development. Let us mobilise to free our people in Western Sahara from their colonial masters!

These are just some of the many challenges we face. I look forward to hearing the outcome of the commissions and hope that we shall emerge from this conference tomorrow united and determined to build a South Africa run by and for the working class and the poor. I wish you a very successful conference.

COSATU shaocked at ANC statement on Civil Society Conference

November 2, 2010 -- The Congress of South African Trade Unions is shocked by the statement issued today, 2 November 2010, by the ANC’s National Working Committee, in response to the highly successful Civil Society Conference held last week.

The statement fails to understand the nature and role of civil society in the national democratic revolution and raises totally groundless fears of the formation of an ‘opposition block’.

COSATU and the other organisations (Treatment Action Campaign and Section 27) who planned the conference went out of their way to explain who would be invited, and agreed that no political parties would be invited, as this would undermine its status as a meeting of civil society and change the whole character of the conference.

Therefore the statement’s allegation that the decision not to invite the ANC and SACP was an attempt “to put a wedge between civil society formations, some unions, the ANC and its Government” is baseless.
(Incidentally, contrary to the ANC statement, SANCO was invited and did participate in the conference – anyone can view the attendance register of the conference)

COSATU remains firmly committed to its alliance with the ANC, SACP and SANCO, mandated by many National Congress resolutions. It has however also always been, and will remain, a trade union federation, independent of the ANC, the state and capital, with the right to meet and interact with any organisation, as long as this advances the interests of the working class. COSATU has no need to seek permission from anyone to meet and work with friendly pro-poor and pro-working class organisations.

The ANC in any case has nothing to fear from the views expressed at the Civil Society Conference. Indeed they should have been celebrating the fact that the main speeches and the final declaration were advocating the same policies as those of the ANC’s own 2007 Polokwane Conference, which were re-endorsed by the recent ANC National General Council.

In his keynote address, COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi stated quite categorically that “we are not an anti-ANC and anti-government coalition. We are not here to begin a process to form any political party, nor to advance the interest of any individual”.

This was echoed by COSATU President, Sidumo Dlamini, when he said that the conference agenda “is not meant to weaken the democratic movement, the alliance or the government. On the contrary it is meant to strengthen it. These organisations have learnt from their own struggles and victories about the benefits of working with the democratic government and to concurrently confront and challenge it when it cannot listen. It is true that out of over 300 delegates just one made a call for the formation of a Workers Party. Indeed there are a number of people who shared this view but the overwhelming majority of the delegates did not dissent from the views expressed by both the President and General Secretary of COSATU.

Contrary to the impression given by the ANC statement, speakers at the conference went out of their way to heap praise on the ANC government’s achievements and it is worth repeating them in full:

“We are encouraged by the knowledge and evidence that our government has the capacity to build millions of houses for the poor,” said Sidumo Dlamini. “We know that since 1994 households with access to potable water have increase from 64% to 97%, households with access to electricity have increased from 51% to 73% and that households with access to sanitation have increased from 50% to 77%”.

“In our 16 years of democracy we have achieved major advances”, said Zwelinzima Vavi. “We have a democratic Constitution and many laws, which have given South Africans basic rights, on paper at least, to freedom, dignity and equality.

“There have been significant important improvements in the lives of millions of our people. As examples: In 1996, only 3 million people had access to social grants; today the figure is 14 million. In 1996,
58% of the population had access to electricity; today the figure is
80%. In 1996, 62% of the population had access to running water; today the figure is 88%. We have built 3.1 million subsidised houses, giving shelter to over 15 million people.”

The ANC statements complains that “the government of the ANC was prosecuted and found guilty while in absentia for amongst other things of pursuing ‘neoliberal’ policies and not doing enough to ‘reverse the apartheid fault lines’ in relation to health, the economy, education, employment and unemployment and the rising inequality gap”.

Yet the ANC NGC resolution itself reached very similar conclusions, saying that, “Sixteen years into our democracy, while we have made substantial progress, we have not yet achieved true economic transformation, which should include fundamentally changing the structure of the economy and the distribution of wealth and income in our society... We have to achieve higher levels of growth and ensure that such growth benefits all of society, especially the poor”.

“The economic downturn saw the loss of over a million jobs in our country and job losses were continuing in the first six months of this year despite the return of economic growth. This has worsened what is an unacceptable level of joblessness in our country.

“These developments point to the core importance of redirecting and transforming economic growth, in order to bring about greater equity based on the creation of decent employment.”

The ANC also charges that Civil Society also found the government “guilty in absentia of inactivity in fighting corruption”. Again the NGC delegates shared the conference’s concerns, resolving that “we must implement the provisions of our election manifesto which state that politicians should not tamper with the adjudication of tenders. Basically we must not allow tenders to destroy the ANC”.

COSATU, and the overwhelming majority of civil society organisations, are fully committed to working with, not against the ANC and the government. United together, the liberation movement and civil society are an invincible force for change and national liberation. Let us unite and work together to achieve our shared aims!

Let us again state categorically that whilst COSATU is fully committed to the existence of the Alliance with the ANC, SACP and SANCO, COSATU is an independent organisation free to meet other unions and civil society formations and to pursue its own working class agenda as long as this will not undermine but deepen the NDR.

We are not going to respond to all other insinuations and questioning the bonafides of COSATU and its individual leaders, clearly targeted for smear campaigns. We engage on the basis of principle. To us the
2007 Polokwane conference of the ANC was about the burial of the tendencies to question bonafides, launch smear campaigns and use state institutions to deal with targeted individuals. Regrettably the ANC statement takes us back to those waters. We won’t cooperate.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson) Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets Braamfontein
2017

P.O.Box 1019 Johannesburg
2017

Vavi: ANC is 'paranoid'; Livid ANC warns on Cosatu’s ‘MDC bid’

Nov 2, 2010 11:51 PM|

http://www.timeslive.co.za/local/article741342.ece/ANC-is-paranoid

The rocky relationship between the ANC and Cosatu deteriorated further yesterday with the ruling party accusing its labour federation ally of ''being oppositionist''.

Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi immediately hit back, charging that the ANC's leaders were "paranoid".

At issue was Cosatu's failure to invite the ANC and government representatives to a civil society conference last week on improving the lives of the poor.

A proposal that an alternative to the ANC, a party similar to the United Democratic Front, was shot down at the conference.

But the ANC's secretary-general, Gwede Mantashe, said the labour giant's actions suggested that it was adopting an "oppositionist" stance. He warned against attempts to effect a "regime change".

Briefing the media after yesterday's meeting of the ANC's national working committee, Mantashe said the ANC-led government had been ''prosecuted and found guilty. in absentia'' at the conference.

''We noted that the ANC, the SA Communist Party and SA National Civic Organisation were not invited, positioning the conference as an alternative block to the alliance.

''The argument that inviting the alliance partners would trigger a demand by other political parties to be invited is not a new argument but an argument that reactionary forces have always used,'' Mantashe said.

He said that, though the ANC believed that most Cosatu members had no intention of campaigning for a change in government, ''we nonetheless caution that any action like the one of leading a charge for the formation of, and for the mobilisation of, a mass civic movement outside of the alliance partners and the ANC might indeed be interpreted as initial steps for regime change in South Africa''.

Mantashe said Cosatu should convince the ANC that it had no intention of forming an alternative party.

Vavi fired back last night, accusing the ANC leadership of being "paranoid" in their interpretation of Cosatu's meeting with civil society bodies. He said the leadership's response was "shocking, inconsistent" and "incoherent".

"I honestly don't know what informs this paranoia on the part of the leadership," he told the SABC. "Cosatu went [to the conference] with the overwhelming majority of the people who participated very clear that we are not going there to form a workers' party or a new left-wing party or whatever."

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven reiterated that the ANC's accusations were "baseless". He said the party had nothing to fear from the views expressed at the conference and that Cosatu remained committed to the alliance.

"Cosatu has no need to seek permission from anyone to meet and work with friendly pro-poor and pro-working class organisations."

At the conference last week, Vavi said that the tolerance of Cosatu's members was wearing thin and that the struggle for the poor had not advanced since 1994.

He said the time for speeches was over and that [ordinary people] wanted their freedom back from the elite and from the rogue elements of society.

Mantashe said the ANC-led alliance remained strong. He said the ANC would continue to talk to Cosatu and that when there were disagreements there was an urgent need for engagement.

Relations between Cosatu and the ANC, though solid immediately after President Jacob Zuma's inauguration, quickly deteriorated when the federation sharply criticised the government for its handling of corruption.

This was followed by an ugly public fight between Vavi and ANC Youth League president Julius Malema, culminating in threats by some ANC leaders to bring disciplinary charges against Vavi.

************

Livid ANC warns on Cosatu’s ‘MDC bid’

Sam Mkokeli, Business Day, Johannesburg, 3 November 2010

RELATIONS in the tripartite alliance reached a new low yesterday, with the African National Congress (ANC) bitterly attacking the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and hinting that it was fuelling a Zimbabwe-style union-based opposition movement to bring about “regime change” in SA.

ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said yesterday the ANC felt Cosatu’s Civil Society Conference held last week had taken an “oppositionist stance”.

While the ANC believed most Cosatu leaders had no intention of implementing “regime change” in SA, Mr Mantashe cautioned that the formation of a civil society movement outside the alliance was “interpreted as the initiation of regime change in SA”.

Mr Mantashe said the ANC had been “prosecuted and found guilty in absentia”.

The conference was seen as a step by Cosatu to test the waters before breaking out of the alliance, but Cosatu was at pains to stress it was not an anti-ANC front.

Mr Mantashe said the fact that some had raised the possibility of forming a workers’ party confirmed the “recycled idea of weakening, and ultimately dividing, the ANC and the alliance”.

“When COPE was formed, we raised the consistent efforts made in the region by powerful international forces to weaken the liberation movements.

“This was the process that preceded the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe and the Movement for Multiparty Democracy in Zambia,” he said.

Mr Mantashe said the ANC’s working committee, which met on Monday, was appalled by Mr Vavi’s reference to some leaders in the ANC as a “predator elite”.

Mr Vavi defended the decision to hold the conference, saying the ANC’s response showed it was being “paranoid”. Cosatu said Mr Mantashe failed to “understand the nature and role of civil society in the national democratic revolution and raises totally groundless fears of an opposition bloc”.

Mr Mantashe said the differences would be discussed at a meeting with Cosatu that will be convened urgently.

mkokelis@bdfm.co,za

From: http://www.businessday.co.za/articles/Content.aspx?id=125623

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