Statement on the Compulsory Convening of a Special National Congress by COSATU

Since its last Congress in 2012, COSATU has been paralysed by internal fighting in the Central Executive Committtee (CEC). This fight has since seen Numsa expelled and Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi dismissed from COSATU.
The paralysis and expulsion could never have happened if Mr.Sdumo Dlamini had heeded the call by the 9 unions which had correctly petitioned him to call for a Special National Congress (SNC) in 2013.
The call for a Special National Congress was and remains important because only the actual ordinary members of COSATU affiliates, through their delegates in a Special Congress could resolve all the problems the federation found itself confronting, soon after its Congress in 2012.
Today, in 2015, COSATU is a bad photo copy of what it used to be: paralysed, weak, not campaigning and completely irrelevant to the strggles of the working class as seen recently during the violent xenophobia which has engulfed the country.
While COSATU has been paralysed there has been implementation of youth wage subsidy and labour brokers have not been banned, and hard won labour rights are been eroded through designating certain sectors essential services, and the new version of GEAR in the guise of the National Development Plan is been implemented. The ANC government has flatly refused to do away with e etolls and the State has shot down striking mineworkersin Marikana.
During this period between 2012 and May 2015, many workers have lost jobs, many working class communities have been protesting for water, sanitation, housing and against the high prices of electricty. The poor have gotten poorer and the rich are enjoying an even greater slice of the wealth of this country.
Industries, shops and many factories are closing because of the crisis at Eskom and load shedding. Workers are suffering because electricity supply has not been properly invested in or maintained! At a time when the workers movement needs all of its strength and unity, COSATU has been busy expelling 360 000 manufacturing workers and has dismissed its COSATU general secretary.
On Monday, 11 May 2015, a grouping of nine Cosatu affiliates will be heard in the South Gauteng High Court in relation to their application for the compulsory convening of a Special National Congress of Cosatu.
The application emanates from a call by more than one- third of Cosatu affiliates in 2013 who have validly and in terms of the Cosatu Constitution successfully petitioned the President of Cosatu to convene this Congress. However the petition has, thus far,  been intentionally and actively diluted, blocked and ultimately not heeded.
Almost 18 months post this call, a litany of contrived and baseless reasons have been used to ensure that the Special National Congress does not take place. This conduct on the part of Mr Sdumo Dlamini has created an unnecessary and unlawful precedent which if allowed to stand will dilute still further worker control and drive the Federation deeper into conflict and crisis.
As such, the applicants will seek an order from the South Gauteng High Court to compel Cosatu’s President to comply and fulfil his Constitutional duties for the purposes of building unity and cohesion within the Federation.
It is a matter of supreme importance that no one or any group of individuals, must be allowed to water down, dilute and destroy the constitution of COSATU in the manner Mr Sdumo seeks to do by refusing to hold a properly petitioned for Special Congress.
It is also extremely important that COSATU is allowed the opportunity to resolve its problems by itself through a Special Congress. Let the workers decide!
In such a Congress, Numsa must be part, through the members of COSATU, to fully participate.
We, therefore, call upon all members of affiliates of COSATU who will be available and free to do so, to be at court tomorrow Monday 11 May 2015, in Johannesburg, to support the application.
We must do everything possible to reclaim COSATU from those who want it to become a toy telephone of the government and the capitalist class.
COSATU belongs to its members. It is time to reclaim it from those who have abandoned the class struggle.
Katishi Masemola, FAWU General Secretary, 082 467 2509 or Castro Ngobese, NUMSA National Spokesperson, 083 627 5197