Numsa 8th National Congress – what speakers said

What ANC president, Jacob Zuma said:

..On unemployment and povertyWe have undertaken to halve unemployment and poverty from their 2004 levels and to substantially reduce social and economic inequality.

We have made the creation of decent work, poverty eradication and combating inequality the centre of our economic policies.

..On crimeThe ANC is taking the fight against crime very seriously. Our laws must bite, and criminals must get the message that crime does not pay. We need the support of the trade union movement and alliance partners in making the (street committees) project succeed.

..On education and healthEducation and health are … two priorities of the ANC from 2009. ..the bureaucracy (must be) responsive to the needs of all, especially the workers and the poor.

..On Lekota breakawayWe cannot allow people who are bitter about the outcome of democratic processes within the ANC to sow disunity and cause confusion within our structures. ..We would like to warn all who intend to join the campaign to undermine and divide the ANC.

We will act very decisively to rid the movement of factionalism. Nobody will be allowed to derail the progress of our revolution and roll back the gains of hard-fought struggles… We urge our members who have been confused by the dissidents to remain within their home, the one and only African National Congress.

What Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi said:

..On Polokwane resolutionsPolokwane resolutions have not altogether closed debates on the economy…
The most significant aspect of the economic resolution of Polokwane is to anchor economic policy around job creation (decent work), poverty eradication, and combating inequality…. It will however be an exaggeration to say that Polokwane represents, in all respects, a radical policy shift.

.. On Polokwane resolutions on agrarian developmentLand reform (must) create(s) livelihoods on a mass scale for our people, in contrast to programmes that call only for enrichment of a few black commercial farmers. Infrastructure and government services (must) do more to support development of impoverished rural areas.

..On Terror Lekota’s conventionWhat is their programme to address the challenges facing the working class which include unemployment, poor quality jobs, poverty, inequality crime etc?Was it not they who were in charge when we adopted neo-liberal solutions – is it not them who forced GEAR down our throats, was it not them who privatised and commoditised basic services – did this programme not cost Telkom workers their jobs?

Was it not they who were in charge of the economy when we saw our former secure and permanent jobs being replaced by insecure casual and atypical forms of work? Was it not they who managed the economy to the point where the main benefits accrued to white monopoly capital.

We all know that we have not changed the accumulation path we inherited from apartheid. In real terms these people have failed workers and the poor.

… On Cosatu’s independenceCosatu is no one’s puppet and will defend its hard won independence.

If the leaders we supported fail to implement a progressive agenda I have no doubt that the workers will mandate us to remove them! We are not here to serve our jackets but our members!

..On 2009 electionsCosatu must lead all other forces for a decisive ANC victory. That victory must be decisive!

..On the struggle at work, home and in politicsAgreed let’s challenge bosses at the workplace, but politics and economics are too important to be left in the hands of the bosses and the elites.

What Blade Nzimande said:

..On the global capitalist crisisIn South Africa we will certainly be affected negatively. Global recession will impact upon our export earnings. Our current account (the difference between what we earn from exports and what we spend on imports) is already in a fragile situation.

The dip in oil prices is unlikely to be sustained and we are very vulnerable, due to our distance from major markets, to transport costs. As a country, until very recently, we were a net food exporter.

In the recent period, thanks to GEAR-related policies and agricultural liberalisation, we have become a net food importer. Key sectors of our industrial economy have all but been wiped out as a result of tariff cuts without a clear industrial policy in place.

Should we be celebrating that there is a global capitalist crisis? Yes, but no when this is not accompanied by sustained working class offensive against the system itself.

We can only celebrate if progressive forces world-wide are able to seize the moment to force through a major change in the direction of global accumulation. Without such a change, the crisis will impact mainly upon workers and the poor, and especially those in the South.

..On trade unions and involvement outside the workplaceTrade unions cannot narrowly limit their struggles only to those matters relating to the workplace.

..On the country's economic policyIf we remain stuck on our current trajectory there is a very serious danger that we will be forced to go to the IMF. This must be avoided at all cost.

Once trapped in the IMF we will lose sovereign control over our economic policies and our new democracy will be become redundant.

..On 'Shikota'Numsa and indeed the working class as a whole must defend the unity of the ANC and our alliance from this renewed offensive of the 1996 class project.


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