SADTU congratulates COSATU for a successful Special National Congress
15 July 2015
The South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (SADTU) would like to congratulate the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) for its successful Special National Congress (SNC) which took place at Gallagher Estate from Monday, 13 until 14 July 2015.
The SNC which brought together all the 18 affiliates of the federation was held under the theme “Building Unity and Cohesion of COSATU to Advance the National Democratic Revolution”.
SADTU commends the Federation for the job well done in bringing together the affiliates under one roof to emerge with a declaration that emphasizes on unity and cohesion within the Federation. The delegates, representing more than 1,9million members, have spoken and all shall listen. The delegates have rejected demagogues and populists rhetoric by demanding that those who are still enslaved by the expelled NUMSA free themselves and build COSATU.
The prophets of doom who had predicted that the Special National Congress would see the end of our COSATU were proven wrong as all affiliates adopted the declaration recommitting to the principles of one union - one industry, one country one federation, paid up membership, non-racialism, international solidarity and worker control. In the true spirit of democracy, affiliates supplemented the declaration with some few additions.
The declaration will go a long way towards advancing the core of what the federation stands for and this includes forging unity amongst the workers of this country.
We commend the decision of the Special National Congress to instruct the CEC to develop a programme of action on gender struggles which should among others, look at the matter that involved expelled General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and a former junior staff member. SADTU, as union that consists largely of women, has always believed that the gender struggle is a struggle within the broader struggle and that it must continue to be profiled.
We do not want to be part of a federation that seems to talk left and yet walk right on the "women question" and the rights of women in the workplace. We are adamant that Vavi must be taken to task and we want to see this matter reaching its logical conclusion. The federation needs to send the correct message to all those women that remain exposed to terrible conditions such as sexual harassment in the workplace at the hands of their male seniors in particular.
Women are the critical drivers of the economy, we therefore further welcome the resolution to organize more women and map out workplace plans to improve women job security and conditions.
We also welcome the fact that the delegates agreed that unions shall develop solidarity activities to support the Communications Workers Union in their struggles against MTN who are planning to retrench thousands of workers. The Congress also made it clear that it is our responsibility to ensure that the Food and Allied Workers Union is assisted in its fight against unscrupulous farmers who treat farm workers like second class citizens in their own country.
On xenophobia, the Special Congress took a decision that the Federation will campaign for the establishment of local and provincial migrant desks, convene an education workshop on xenophobia and international relations and involve diaspora organizations.
We view this as crucial to the country and will strengthen the relationship with our fellow brothers and sisters in the continent.
We would like to assure SADTU members and the public that we were united as an organization behind the decisions of the CEC moving towards the Special National Congress. This is contrary to the suggestion by one of the leaders of NUMSA, Karl Cloete in an interview in one of the public radio stations just recently that SADTU was in “tatters and divided” over COSATU matters. He is most likely still licking his wounds from their dismal failure to collapse the SNC.
The fact is SADTU is a united organization and its leaders take a mandate from the members and not from Washington and Belgium. We are not controlled by Western forces and we will never allow ourselves to be used by them to effect regime change in our country. Our positions moving towards, and during the SNC, are informed by our own Congress resolutions and we will not apologize for implementing these at the level of the Federation.
We want to encourage those affiliates that had chosen to form an alliance to defy legitimate CEC decisions and suspend their participation to adhere to the call made by President Sidumo Dlamini to free themselves from other unions. Let them come back to the CEC as we work towards achieving unity and cohesion and free themselves from the spell of Vavi, Jim and their Western funders. Let us focus on servicing our members and be their beacon of hope against unscrupulous employers.
We urge all affiliates to go to the ordinary congress of the Federation, which is due to take place in November, united in purpose to build the organization and not to allow themselves to be diverted from discussing and resolving on programmes that will put workers’ interests at the forefront.
United we stand, divided we fall.