The recent Special CEC developments, decisions and subsequent press briefings and press statements if anything once again demonstrate the failure of the current leadership at the head of COSATU to unite and lead workers in implementing COSATU resolutions of the 11th National Congress. It is precisely for such reasons that we have suspended our participation in the CEC. What at this point is required from the leadership is to rise above factional politics and pursue a course for building workers unity based on our resolutions and campaigns. In this regard the current leadership has completely failed and instead of steering a course away from the decisive path, they have once again squarely placed themselves behind a faction in COSATU, both within COSATU structures and in their public utterances. Thus the decisions of the CEC and the subsequent press briefing, unfortunately fall far short from what this moment demand and merely deepen the crisis. For this reason our demands; for a Special National Congress, the reversal of the expulsion of NUMSA and the cessation of the ongoing witch-hunt against Comrade Vavi remain as urgent as it was on the first day we raised it. These demands is at the heart of a process that will return the Federation to her rightful owners, it's members, the workers. We insist no amount of boardroom decisions can address this crisis and paralysis. What this moment demand from leadership is clear campaigns and struggles that will unite workers and defend workers against the capitalist onslaught workers face daily. The machinations of the current leadership makes a mockery our commitment to reverse the high levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty and unfortunately the recent decisions and press briefing once again fail the workers.
The continued denialism which engulfs the current majority of collective of the National Office Bearers of COSATU, which is better explained in press conferences than the traditional organisational channels of communication of legitimate nature that are constitutionally empowered to recapture the federation from the class onslaught engineered by renewed class project ably resourced through democratic state which seeks to retain the capitalist economic policies, is to some extent worrying.
Statement issued by the COSATU National Office Bearers on the 14 November 2014
This rather wasteful manner of federation’s and state’s resources to convene meaningless press conferences within seven days to reinstate what we view somewhat, as what is not news worthy projected outcomes of endless Special CEC which is schedule for the entire season to force down the throat of ordinary members of the federation and the broader working class than to accept that under the current presidency the federation is going down the history book as a leader who donated with the sole of the working class to the democratic state and fossil capital.
The unconstitutional grip/clench of Losi to the position of presidency
The latest and sustained constitutional violations by National Office Bearers with a factional desire, about the status of the 2nd Deputy President, who must at all cost now, have to go. In order to justify the continuation of the position held by the 2nd Deputy President, Zingiswa Losi reference is made to a so-called precedent involving Comrade George Nkadimeng who remained as the Deputy President of COSATU after shifting jobs from being a shopstewards of NUM to NUMSA. However this resulted in a subsequent Congress rectifying this ambiguity to avoid future recurrences. It was for this reason that when Comrade Joyce Pekane of CEPPWAWU faced a similar situation she failed to qualify for election at a subsequent Congress.
It is in this context therefore that the Seven Unions now deem it appropriate to demand Comrade Zingiswa Losi who was once a NUMSA shop steward must immediately resign. Her continuing presence in the NOB team is in clear contradiction to the COSATU Constitution, and the fact that she continues in her position brings into disrepute the decisions of the CEC and indeed all structures where she has unconstitutionally played a role. Her continued presence and participation is an affront to workers control and accountability and she must be removed.
6th Central Committee
The much expressed view that the organisation is in paralysis is better explained in that “the CEC agreed not to proceed with the 6th Central Committee scheduled for 24-26 November, as it will be counter-productive in the current state of affairs” as but one demonstration of such a state. This is branded to be possible could be divisive unless the report and agenda is managed in a particular way and should not be called if this is not the case. To suggest otherwise as the faction of Sdumo has done is to both undermine the COSATU Constitution, and the Independence of the Federation. We respectfully suggest therefore that the Cde Sdumo must refrain from interfering in matters that are governed by the Constitution.
Calling for calm
That the COSATU National Office Bearers’ statement, 14 November 2014 The National Office Bearers of the Congress of South African Trade Unions wish to inform COSATU members, members of the Allied formations, friends in the civil society, all South Africans and indeed our sister Federations across the globe that we, the six National Office Bearers of the Federation, have been holding crucial discussions amongst ourselves since Monday 10 November 2014.
This is rather far truth and we suspect that the intention of this misleading statement is distanced to spread more lies to the mind of the unsuspecting members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, members of the Allied formations, friends in the civil society, all South Africans and indeed our sister Federations across the globe, of what we could merely reduce to mean one thing only that, of the much talked about press conference of the 14th November 2014, wherein further lies were engineered but failed to find expression in the public discourse.
The truth is how can we be told to be calm when NUMSA is unconstitutional expelled from the federation they created to serve their ideological master Blade Nzimande who referred to the NUMSA as rotting and stinking corpse. We wish to place on record our uttermost distaste at the language that was used by a prominent politician and an avowed defender of the working class at the weekend in Durban.
We may have our political differences with Comrade Blade Nzimande but his comments at the KZN Shop Stewards Council on Sunday 16th November require an immediate response.
Speaking as the General Secretary of the SACP, his contribution to the meeting on the crisis in COSATU included a description of NUMSA as a ‘rotting corpse’ that must be disposed of.
We are all in favour of a robust discussion and we must all at times plead guilty of using terms that inflame rather than explain our differences. However, the use of this particularly term at this time is especially offensive, verges on hate-speak, and cannot be allowed to pass without a public rebuke.
Not only is this a wholly inappropriate term for an avowed defender of the working class, a leading communist, a leader of the Alliance, a member of the ANC leadership and a Cabinet Minister of Higher Education to use to describe a democratic and peaceful Union of more than 350,000 workers, it is also extremely offensive.
Firstly to the families of those lost in Lagos. Secondly to those thousands of workers who have built NUMSA and COSATU as a bastion of the working class. Thirdly to those in the Alliance who are trying to build unity. Fourthly to the South African public who deserve more than this from elected representatives those who are supposed to protect their interests. Finally, to those comrades he addressed in Durban last week-end, in the hope that his example will not be emulated.
We expect in return a pattern of insults and accusations that has sadly become a norm, and that has thwarted and replaced genuine attempts at a clarifying engagement. So be it. Our main audience for this statement is actually not those who are named, important though they are, but the hundreds of thousands of workers who are trying to make sense out of the current crisis. In reaching out from the Boardrooms to them we pledge ourselves wholeheartedly to the following actions:
Legitimacy of today’s CEC which is dominated faction
It is apparent that, despite the historical political role championed by this body, but, with the current composition which proved to be infiltrated by forces who are enemies of the working class who are creature from outer space class formations. It (CEC) has degenerated to a point where we and the working class formation at large now are convinced that, this body must be overhauled to matching set the purpose and find relevance in the unfolding political and ideological moment. This could only be achieved if we reconnect with the founding principles of the federation to strengthen trade unions towards being decisively strong, worker controlled, democratic and independent transformatory organs of worker power into the future. The balance of class forces in our country and continent demand nothing less, as the workers movement continues to be treated as little more than a rubber stamp for austerity policies that undermine further the living standards of the working class and the poor.
Therefore, the state of paralysis at the level of the Federation’s CEC still needs to be addressed, despite the interventions of a range of external and internal players. In our view, the basis of the divisions, which is manifested in a destructive factionalism, is rooted in an unwillingness to accept and address the reality of the failure of transformation, and especially at the level of the economy, and the current formation and composition of the CEC can not mitigate politically and ideologically. At no stage in history wherein the democratic organisation, where you will find minority is place to the same artificial parity with the majority, as it is the case of the current formulae of representation. This is couple with some affiliates within that CEC of COSATU speaking without mandate on core constitutional limitations, yet participate and take far reaching decisions.
It is in this context, we painfully with determination will campaign for a rather new structural outlook, with composition that become conscious and appreciate the centrality of majority rule in its true classical form.
For more details of the programme of action of the Unions signing this Press Statement, please contact the General Secretary of the Union Concerned, or Comrade Katishe Masemola, the General Secretary of FAWU on 0824672509
Issued by the Nine COSATU Affiliated Unions