Congress of South African Trade Unions convened a two-day Special Central Executive Committee [CEC] meeting to discuss COSATU’s perspective and approach to the upcoming Local Government Elections. PHOTO: COSATU/Twitter

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Trade union federation COSATU has resolved to support the ANC during the upcoming Local Government Elections despite tensions over the public sector wage freeze.

Speaking in Braamfontein on Thursday following the federation ‘s two-day Special Central Executive Committee (CEC), COSATU’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the meeting concluded that despite the challenges facing the working class and the current tensions within the tripartite alliance, the trade union federation will not boycott the elections and will implement its resolution of supporting the ANC in the upcoming local government elections.

 “We are not abandoning the ANC yet because as part of the Alliance, we do not want to open a political vacuum that will see the organisation hijacked by the reactionary and criminal elements who have been attempting to capture it since the 1994 democratic breakthrough,” said Ntshalintshali.

“The Central Committee will continue to assess the state of the Alliance and its reconfiguration, taking into consideration the offensive against the working class.”

The trade union federation, which has a membership of more than 1.8 million, has been campaigning for the ANC during national and local elections since the dawn of democracy in 1994.

Relations between the ANC and Cosatu have been strained after the government reneged on a three-year public sector wage agreement signed with labour, citing a lack of funds.

Implementing the last leg of the 2018 wage deal for 1.3 million public servants would cost R37.8 billion, and the government says it doesn’t have the money for it.

Cosatu affiliates have since taken the government to court over the matter.

“The SCEC affirmed that this historical and shared perspective of the NDR remains correct and must be defended and promoted by us the workers. It is our task as the working class to ensure that the ANC’s commitment to a perspective of a working class led NDR finds expression in its socioeconomic policies. We cannot outsource that responsibility or abandon it,” said Ntshalintshali.

“Many strategic meetings of the ANC, in particular its policy conferences, NGC and National Conference, have consistently emerged with progressive policies. Most if not all ANC resolutions and policies subscribe to a form of radical social transformation, but the key problem is the inability to enforce and monitor compliance with the ANC policies.”

The trade union federation said it welcomed the ANC’s national executive committee decision that any member charged with corruption or other serious crimes must step aside within 30 days or be suspended.

“We note and welcome the ANC NEC efforts to instil discipline and fight corruption by giving corruption charged individuals thirty days to step down or risk suspension by the organisation. What we need is for the ANC NEC to also wield an axe against those who undermine its resolutions by failing to implement them,” said Ntshalintshali.

“The SCEC was resolute in calling upon our movement, the ANC, to be more decisive against the scourge of corruption and parasitism in our country. This is a real pandemic alongside COVID19 and Gender-Based-Violence in the manner it is eroding the gains made since 1994 by workers. This is coupled with the reality of desperation, hunger, and crime in our communities.”

Meanwhile, Ntshalintshali has described government’s immunization plan as “grossly incompetent and with deadly consequences”.

“Government is now talking about only meeting 67% immunization rate in June 2022, and this is delaying the immunization of essential workers in the public and private sector because it has failed to secure the necessary vaccine on time,” said Ntshalintshali. 

“Delaying the vaccination of teachers, police officers, mining, energy and transport workers, is not a solution and must be rejected by all sane people who understand the need for the economy to recover.

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