The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has expressed its support for the African National Congress (ANC) as it undertakes a review of its 2019 elections manifesto. The message of support was delivered during a crucial gathering attended by ANC President Cyril Ramaphosa, members of the National Office Bearers, and leaders from COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP).
COSATU emphasized the importance of unity and collaboration among the alliance partners as they prepare for the upcoming elections, which are expected to be challenging and critical. The trade union federation acknowledged that achieving a victory in favor of the poor and the working class would require joint efforts from all involved.
The gathering focused on reflecting upon the progress made in implementing the 2019 elections manifesto. COSATU highlighted the need for honesty and transparency in assessing the successes and failures of the manifesto. It urged government officials not to shy away from acknowledging areas where progress has been lacking, such as the impact of global events, internal factions, corruption, and poorly considered decisions.
Furthermore, COSATU encouraged the alliance partners to effectively communicate their achievements to the public. The trade union federation praised significant victories, such as the introduction of the National Minimum Wage, which has positively impacted the wages of 6 million workers. It also highlighted the release of funds from the Unemployment Insurance Fund to support millions of workers during the lockdown, as well as the implementation of the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant for 8 million unemployed individuals.
However, COSATU emphasized the need to be open to adapting and responding to changing conditions. It acknowledged that unforeseen circumstances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic challenges, have affected the implementation of the manifesto. Honest reflection on setbacks and blunders, such as factionalism and the mistreatment of workers, would be crucial in shaping the upcoming 2024 manifesto.
COSATU welcomed the commitment to a joint alliance team responsible for drafting the 2024 manifesto, emphasizing the importance of collective contributions, ownership, and accountability. The trade union federation expressed readiness to participate actively and hold the government accountable for the manifesto’s implementation.
In conclusion, COSATU urged the alliance to utilize the remaining 10 months of the current administration effectively. It presented a list of key actions to be taken, including increasing the SRD Grant, extending the Presidential Employment Stimulus, and addressing infrastructure challenges. It also called for the resourcing of law enforcement agencies to combat crime and corruption, filling public service vacancies, and passing outstanding bills in Parliament.
COSATU stressed the urgency of delivering tangible results for workers and the broader society as the 2024 elections approach. It emphasized that action, not empty promises, was needed to meet the expectations of the working class. The trade union federation expressed its unwavering commitment to supporting the alliance and ensuring the best interests of workers are prioritized.