Cosatu Congress Special: What speakers said

What they said:

Economic downswing – Kgalema MotlantheDeputy president of the country, Kgalema Motlanthe, addressed congress delegates on Day Two.The presidential address was dominated by the current economic situation, the ripple effect it has on the life of the working class, as all sectors of the economy were heavily affected.

The president further cited government’s intervention strategy, such as to assist the distressed companies through stimulus packages. These measures are to endeavour to cushion these economic pressures. Nkhangweni Masutha

Support soldiers! – YCLThe national secretary of the Young Communist League (YCL), Buti Manamela, was vocal on the unionization of the armed forces and what kind of intervention should be taken.

He said that the YCL did not object to their wish to unionise themselves since they understand the soldiers’ plight.He spoke volumes about the current crisis in the economy.

He touched on government’s initiatives but stressed that we need to look beyond that. He recommended the formation of cooperatives and the nationalization of key sectors of the economy.

(Cosatu adopted the resolution proposed by the SA Security Forces Union (SASFU) supporting the unionization of the security forces and seconded by Numsa. The resolution also proposes that the internal processes that were taking place should be revived.)Nkhangweni Masutha

ANC not narrow electoral machinery Cosatu president, Sdumo Dlamini, in his opening address to the 2746 delegates at Cosatu’s 10th National Congress, said that during the Polokwane Conference the details of the 1996 class project, including GEAR, were revealed.

The ANC is now back to its rightful owners now that the grassroots have reclaimed their organisation.He said that the Polokwane resolutions today are forming part of government’s programme.

And they are helping to renew the organisations in the alliance through meetings like the Alliance Summit.The president cautioned the delegates that there are differences within the alliance but these “are not hostile”. “

The alliance is here to stay,” he said.He thanked delegates for building ANC structures and reminded them that from the ANC manifesto, decent work will be the priority. He warned the government to ban labour brokers, not regulate them, failing which “we will meet on the streets.”Peter Thobejane

Zuma calls for unity“Thank you, thank you for the ANC national elections victory,” were the words of the ANC president, Jacob Zuma who addressed comrades on the first day of the congress.

The president of the country spoke mainly of the work of government so far including the fact that new ministers have been created to implement the Polokwane resolutions to improve the lives of South Africans.

In his response to strikes, he cautioned those who are engaging in that particular exercise not to violate other citizens’ rights.As head of the ANC he gave a report back of the recent NEC meeting around unionization of the military where the resolution was a big NO to unionization.

On the succession debate, the NEC resolved that it is premature to look into that. Instead comrades should concentrate on what is expected of the movement from now until 2012 conference and the 2014 national elections, not forgetting the 2011 local government elections.‘Unity among the working class movement is the secret to success!”City Bokaba

Zuma asks for comments on Manuel’s planning commissionANC president, Jacob Zuma chastised Cosatu for its attack on Trevor Manuel, a minister in the presidency responsible for planning.

Cosatu had accused Manuel through his green paper on national planning, of attempting to usurp the economic development responsibility from the department of Economic Development led by former Cosatu leader Ebrahim Patel.

Zuma urged all those making inputs on the green paper to make positive contributions. “The inputs from various sectors should be designed to enrich the process.

Both ministries in the presidency have produced discussion documents. The ANC will make its comments on the documents to parliament as required, as much as Cosatu has said it will do the same,” Zuma said.Pinky Ramokoka

JZ disarms delegates with his chuckles!ANC president, Jacob Zuma, showed his ability to ease differences amongst alliance partners when he broached the difficult issue of unionization of soldiers on day one of the congress.

He agreed with Cosatu that their conditions must be improved but he came down hard on Cosatu’s support for them unionizing.If the soldiers are on strike, he told the congress, “they can’t defend the country! They can’t be unionized.

And that is where we differ.”But he softened his hard words with a rumble of chuckles that disarmed all delegates! Jenny Grice


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