The Cosatu CEC of 10th Feb 2014 signals that the ANC and SACP feel confident enough to split and attempt to destroy Numsa.
Let’s look at the Numsa position again:
1. Numsa has not prevented any official or member from campaigning for the ANC- they can do it as long as they do it in their own time, not that of the union;
2. Any member of Numsa can vote and campaign for the party of their choice;
3. The decision to break from the ANC and SACP as the union, was reached after an extensive process of grassroots consultation leading up to the Congress- in fact the decision was shaped by the members, who went further than even their leaders intended- Their Congress decision is a demonstration of workers’ democracy in action;
4. Cosatu is a federation and thus any affiliate can take different decisions and campaign for the other affiliates to adopt their views. Cosatu was not formally allied with the ANC and SACP until 1990; thus there is nothing wrong with workers discussing breaking or changing the alliance- in fact virtually every Cosatu Congress has discussed and evaluated the alliance and whether it advances or serves workers’ interest and what to do to make sure that workers interests are paramount. Thus Numsa has not broken any working class principle- in fact they have been a model of workers’ democracy.
What makes the ANC and SACP feel confident is that Fawu and Samwu are poised to declare that they will campaign for an ANC victory. Thus the ANC and SACP leadership feel that Numsa leaders are isolated and that they can move to split a section away to support the ANC in the elections. No doubt there is a right wing in Numsa, the faction that wants to support the ANC but they were politically defeated at the Numsa Congress. Workers should not allow the ANC to split Numsa. This will only serve the interests of big capital who want a passive, docile and if need be, fractured workers movement. In fact, big capital would welcome a split Numsa as they would be able to accelerate attacks on workers such as retrenchments, lower wages and greater exploitation and the continuation of labour brokers.
The Cosatu CEC statement of 10th Feb is a rather shocking example of what a lapdog of the ANC that the Cosatu leaders have become: For example
· In the past 5 weeks at least 10 protestors for basic service delivery such as water and housing, have been killed by the police and one, Lerata Rabolila of Boiketlong, by ANC members. The Cosatu CEC blames the protestors for the violence; not a single word of condemnation of the actions of the police or the ANC is uttered by the Cosatu leaders;
· 9 workers have died at Harmony’s Doornkop gold mine, yet not a single word it uttered to criticise the ANC head of Harmony, Patrice Motsepe, for perpetuating unsafe working conditions that put mineworkers lives at risk every day;
· The Cosatu leaders deny the Constitutional right of Cosatu members to debate the pressing issues facing the working class, because their funds will be used to campaign for the ANC. It claims that a CC (Central Committee) will need to be called- so why did it not use these funds as well as the millions it has in investments, to call a Special Congress?
· WSU, TUT, DUT are closed while the ANC plans to enshrine labour broking as a permanent feature of the economy, youth slavery and dismissal of existing workers, relaxing dismissal provisions of the LRA, are all part of the NDP which form part of the ANC election manifesto, as are fracking, biofuels, coal and nuclear power. Farm workers wages were raised only from R105 to R111 per day by the ANC govt while the wine bosses increased their sales by 26% last year. Thousands of farmworkers have been retrenched since the strikes. The ANC is moving away from building houses to housing ‘opportunities’ and is committed to upgrading shacks by providing some basic services, but moving away from building RDP houses to more bond houses- in other words a policy that serves the banks and not the masses. Yet the Cosatu leaders have no problem with campaigning for this anti-worker programme.
The way forward
Every union in Cosatu should be challenged to call a special Congress before the 7th May elections so that the workers can debate and decide on their positions on the ANC track record as well as the content of the ANC manifesto. Workers should formulate their minimum platform of demands as a basis to support a party of their choice and to discuss the proposal by Numsa for a workers party.
Workers should be vigilant against any attempt to divide Numsa by the ANC and SACP. Workers should also take a stand on the Marikana massacre by the police, in defence of the mineworkers and mine worker communities.
Numsa has consulted its base, the workers, the other unions should be challenged to do to the same- if they dare. Then workers will really see who is undemocratic and who is on the side of the labour broker leaders of the ANC and big capital. How long are workers going to allow Anglo American and other mining monopolies and international banks, to steal trillions through transfer pricing and tax evasion? How long must workers wait for the wealth stolen over the past 50 years to be returned? Surely, here are the corrupt capitalists who are responsible for robbing our youth of their future and the current generation of a life?
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