Cosatu Special: JZ gets rousing welcome

Jacob Zuma gets rousing welcome

Mlungisi Tikolo

The Deputy President of the ANC Jacob Zuma (JZ) entered the Cosatu congress to big applause from all the affiliates. Almost all delegates spontaneously broke into his trademark (mshini wam’) song and the hall reverberated under the dancing. Judging from the reception that he got, it was clear that the Cosatu delegates support him in his trying time.JZ kicked off his speech by urging comrades to listen and speak to each other. He emphasized the importance of unity of our class the working class and its importance in leading the revolution.
He said that Cosatu has been at the forefront of the workers’ struggles and the working class in general. Probably in answering critics like Moeletsi Mbeki who claims that he has no economic policy, even if he was elected as the ANC’s president, he emphasized that the economic policy of the ANC is as a result of a collective decision not an individual one. JZ also identified that the ANC faces challenges as a result of joblessness or the working poor (casuals and contract workers). He also quoted OR Tambo’s 60th anniversary
address when he characterized the alliance as not a mere paper alliance but a living struggle that has been fertilised by the blood of our unnamed comrades. JZ mentioned that Cosatu needs the ANC and vice versa in as much as the SACP needs the two to advance the working class. He also said that contradictions are not always antagonistic – in other words differences can be resolved amicably.In conclusion JZ painted a scenario that happened after Chief Albert Luthuli died when observers wondered what would happen to the ANC after his death.
The same happened after OR Tambo’s death as well as after Madiba took over and left. The observers or analysts asked who was going to fill the shoes of Madiba until the ANC youth league and its Women’s league supported the election of President T Mbeki. He left the analysis up to the delegates themselves. He then signed off with his popular song. Musungibambezela awulethumshini wam’! (don’t waste my time bring me my gun!)

JZ soars high

Aubrey ka Saki

The language of ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma received roars of loud approval at Gallagher Estate. Jacob Zuma, highly likely to succeed Thabo Mbeki for the SA presidency in 2009, was undeniably the speaker of the day, as he unleashed Government initiatives to address the plight of the poor. The ANC leader told attendees that “the ANC speaks at this congress not as an outside guest, but as a member of our own people, Cosatu workers”.Zuma went on to say, “illustrious
leaders of the past laid down the blueprint of showing guidance and direction towards the harmonised society in South Africa today.” All were convinced of the need for unity amongst the working-class. Conscious workers should remain in the forefront, as they had shown during their quest to destroy Apartheid.The formation of a broader federation like Cosatu was indeed a victory inside and beyond the borders of South Africa. For the past 20 years, Cosatu had proven
its power to push for the needs of have-nots and to fight for the enhancement of society.JZ said that government needs support from its alliance partners as it can’t go it alone. The alliance must be involved in all decision-making.”Comrades and friends”, cautioned Zuma, “Aids has infested its deadly fangs deep in the lives of the poorest of the poor. We must go back to basics together with our partners and reaffirm the alliance’s
role and responsibilities”.JZ reminded us that trade union and ANC links date back to struggles waged by Johannes Nkosi, the massive strikes by mineworkers in 1921 and in 1946. Such recorded strikes had an overall impact on the Apartheid regime.Fore-runners of Cosatu, the South African Allied Workers Union (Saawu) and the Federation of South African Trade Unions (Fosatu), had intensified industrial struggles and made the racist regime ungovernable.

JZ – ANC economic policy the will of the majorityWoody Aroun

Addressing Cosatu’s 9th National Congress, the Deputy President of the ANC Jacob Zuma told delegates that the economic policy of the ANC was not the policy of individuals but the policy of the organization and its partners. However, JZ stopped short on the issue of changes to economic policy other than to confirm that an ANC government will always respect the interests of workers and pursue a working relationship with business and labour.
In this context, it would seem that the trade union federation and its affiliates would have to continue the fight for radical changes in economic policy even if JZ succeeds in his quest to be “my president” as repeatedly sung by the congress delegates. On the other hand corporate business and their allies will surely welcome JZ’s luke-warm comments on economic policy, even if he is not their preferred choice for the country’s top job.

JZ warns on casualisationPeter Thobejane

Deputy president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma in his speech to the Cosatu delegates, said that the ANC’s manifesto states that we must improve the shortage of skills and reduce unemployment. All of this is work in progress, he told the congress.He warned delegates that casualisation and outsourcing needed the undivided attention of the trade unions so as to deal effectively with job security

JZ on the alliance

“The ANC is the only political organisation in the country that can produce policies and the legal environment that addresses the plight of the workers. Simply put, for the plight of the workers to be addressed, Cosatu needs the ANC to be in government. Cosatu therefore remains in this Alliance, safe in the knowledge that the ANC will never turn against worker interests.”With regards to the SACP whose objective is socialism, in the history of this country there is no other political formation that the party has worked with except the ANC. The SACP needs Cosatu as a revolutionary trade union movement,
and the ANC as a political party that understands the problem of the poor. The party therefore needs the ANC for better conditions, in which it can pursue its own objectives.”The ANC on the other hand needs both Cosatu and the SACP for it to remain in power and its overwhelming majority in order to pursue the objectives of the national democratic revolution. The ANC’s association with its alliance partners has defined it as a progressive and revolutionary liberation movement and a true parliament of the people.”