Cosatu Congress Special: Key debates

The conduct of striking workers John Manana

The conduct of affiliate members during the course of industrial action was the burning issue in the congress on day two. An example was made of the Samwu strike where workers trashed rubbish in the streets.Striking workers broke by-laws and interfered with the rights of citizens.

Congress emphasized that trade unions should conduct themselves in a manner that draws sympathy and support from society.Congress further stated that militant conduct should not be construed as violenct action.

It condemned violent elements during the course of strike action.After a lengthy debate on the issue, the congress concluded that the matter should be deferred to the Cosatu Central Executive Committee for final elaboration and decision.

Write and tell us what your view is on this issue and we will publish your responses in the next Numsa News.

"Regulate sex workers!"Jenny Grice

Popcru’s proposal that sex workers be regulated and decriminalized woke up those delegates that had been resting and relaxing.

Popcru found unusual support from veteran Senzeni Zokwana, Num’s president who urged “men of my age who can’t engage in this service to support the resolution.

”Communication Workers Union (CWU) and teachers’ union, Sadtu vehemently opposed any relaxing of laws around prostitution saying sex workers were not part of “African culture”.“In terms of our culture as Africans we are not supporting a situation where women are degraded to such an extent that they sell their bodies.â€

Numsa’s Pinky Ramokoka stood up to give Popcru further support for its proposal and so too did nursing union Denosa.

However, Denosa agreed with the general secretary of the SA Communist Party when he cautioned delegates not to move too fast without first getting the backing of society.Popcru further clarified that they were calling for the authorities to “regulate it, control it.

People inside this hall are beneficiaries of this; to help them not to be consumed, we have to regulate this thing.”Congress eventually agreed to refer the matter for further debate and decision at the next Central Executive Committee.

The time for honeymoon and celebration is over Judy Madumo

The Federation has pushed the bar up once again to challenge the tasks that it has set for itself. And for this it says whilst it acknowledges and celebrates the victory of Polokwane “it needs to get out of the celebration mode.”

This can be seen at the workers’ parliament in the engagements on the secretariat political report. Numsa charges that it is about time that the movement engages and adopts a revolutionary agenda that deals with the eradication of poverty, joblessness and other socio-economic ills that bedevil our society.

Sadtu would later in the debate re-affirm the 9th Cosatu National Congress resolution on the Alliance Pact to be “fought for and implemented”.The General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) hastened to remind congress that because “capital is very much dependant on the state at the moment; how do we exploit the moment so that in better times the benefits are in the interests of the poor”.

This crisis nature of the capitalist mode of production is further demonstrated by the Deputy President of the country as he explains the process. The first phase is to acquire money.

The second phase is to produce commodities. And the last phase is to sell the commodity so that things like rent, wages etc are paid out. Now the capitalist mode of production has stalled at the second phase of its notorious self-destructive mess and the President says “once the production stops at the 2nd phase, the system grinds to a halt and we experience a recession.”

It therefore remains to be seen how the Federation, in the upcoming Alliance Summit that was endorsed by the weekend NEC of the ANC, seizes this exciting moment.

This is against the backdrop of a warning by the Secretary General of the ANC when he says on the issue of banning of labour brokers that Cosatu “multiplies its voice and tilts the balance of forces in its favour on policy formulation”.

Even the GS of the party said “it’s nice to be here, it’s a breath of fresh air!”, as he beamed from cheek to cheek as he attached his specs back to his face. With this tone set by congress delegates, clearly the next time we cut a celebration cake will be next year after the delivery of the January 8 statement, to celebrate the ANC’s 98th anniversary!

Speaking for the youth

The 9-year old daughter of Numsa Ekurhuleni regional educator, Mlungisi Rapodile, blew away congress delegates when she recited her own poem to the congress.

ChangeKarama Rapodile

Seasons change, months change, days, hoursMinutes and seconds, The winds of change1976 brought with it death, pain and sufferingBut we are free because of it.

1994 democracy, freedom, black president, BEEOpportunities of growth, new beginningsIt all changesThe winds of change.

Recession what is that?People are losing their jobs, houses are takenHigh inflation, petrol hikes, interest hikes, food hikes, Everything is hiking, The winds of change

Fathers are leaving their familiesMothers are forced to be fathersDaughters are having babiesHIV is turning children into orphansHIV is turning children into parents.

Nations are fightingThe Mugabes of this world want to grow old as presidentsThe winds of changeGlobal warming smoke is changing the climateThe water we drink, the air we breathe, the land we live in,All are becoming toxic.

What change are you making?What do you want to be remembered for?

People let’s put our hands together and bring changeGood change, for us all.Let us all work together to make a difference.


Numsa News