The labour federation says workers do not have the ‘luxury to indulge in political abstentionism’.
The labour federation’s special central executive committee (CEC) met this week to discuss Cosatu’s position and approach to the upcoming local polls.
The CEC meeting reiterated its position that the postponement of the elections would “mean the prolongation of ongoing corruption and the indirect endorsement of mismanagement of municipalities.”
Despite expressing concern about the reconfiguration of its alliance with the ANC and the SACP, Cosatu said it would implement its resolution of supporting the ANC in the local government elections, while also contesting the direction of the alliance.
“After robust and fraternal debates, the SCEC [special CEC] concluded that the problems facing workers are mainly driven by political choices and decision making by those in government and other sites of power. This, therefore, means that the federation needs to also combine mass mobilisation with a clear political programme to resolve and undo them,” Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.
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Pamla said the meeting concluded that workers did not have the “luxury to indulge in political abstentionism” amid deepening class contestations of both the ANC and the government. He said the federation would continue to engage and mobilise to resolve the identified frustrations and serious disagreements that have poisoned its relations with government.
“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. The central committee will continue to assess the state of the alliance and its reconfiguration, taking into consideration the offensive against the working class,” he said.
Pamla said what would complicate this year’s local government elections campaign is that Cosatu will also run parallel campaign to defend collective bargaining. The union has been at loggerheads with the government over the non-implementation of the 2018 public service wage agreement.
“There is a real possibility that workers in the public service and the public sector in general, will be on strike fighting the wage freeze and retrenchments during the elections. We will not compromise on this campaign and we are encouraging all our unions to mobilise and fight back against retrenchments.
“This is the reason the SCEC resolved to convene urgent political bilateral meetings with both the ANC NEC [national executive committee] or NWC [national working committee] and the SACP CC within 14 days to discuss all the challenges facing workers and society in the country.”
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