Speech Delivered at the 2011 Launch of the SACP Red October Campaign -by COSATU President Sidumo Dlamini

2 October 2011

The General Secretary of the South African Communist Party, comrade Blade Nzimande;
The Chairperson the South African Communist Party, comrade Gwede Mantashe;
The entire leadership of the party from all levels

Comrades and compatriots;

Please accept greetings from the Congress of South African Trade Unions – COSATU

We feel honoured to have been invited by our ally the SACP to this important gathering which marks the launch of the 2011 Red October Campaign.

To us as COSATU the red October campaign remains a constant reminder that the party walks alongside with the workers and carries us when we need it the most.

Red October campaigns are a constant reminder of the relationship between theory and practice and it reminds all of us that the SACP is not Utopian in leading the struggle for the attainment of Socialism in South Africa.

Like the SACP we enter the month of October with a special focus on making our schools work. We want to encourage the grade 12 class of 2011 as they come closer to the date of writing their final examination that they can make history by ensuring that all of them pass their exams. It is unacceptable that of the 42% of the unemployed youth 60% of them have less than secondary education.

We are also calling on our members who are educators to leave up to the pledge they made with the department of Basic Education to ensure that they are in school on time and in class effectively teaching our youth at all levels.

We are calling on alliance structures to work with communities to form education transformation forums. We call on all our schools and parents to ensure that by the end of this year all learners have been registered that textbooks are delivered in all schools.

We call on the alliance leaders to adopt schools and make sure that those schools functions optimally.
The first school day in 2012 must be dedicated to nothing else but effective teaching and learning.

We want alliance structures to work with communities to ensure that all this happens.

We have noted that the campaigns prioritised by the party coincide with the instruction given to us by our 5th Central Committee that this year we should launch a section 77 applications and a campaign involving a 2-day stay away to ensure the eradication of labour brokering.

We want to report that we have done exactly as instructed and our structures working with SACP, ANC, SANCO and the leagues are gearing up for action.

We are however concern that Business is not honest during negotiations. They send labour brokers to negotiate with us.

We want to tell business that there is nothing to negotiate with Labour brokers. Labour brokers are nothing else but criminals who camouflage as entrepreneurs when in fact their core activity is human trafficking.

We are angry that FEDUSA agrees with these labour brokers and we are not sure if that this mandate given by their members or some of them are just colluding because they have been promised some benefits.

We will be meeting with the minister of labour very soon to ask a simple question – when are these big scammers and thugs called labour brokers going to be removed from our society?

We are also preparing ourselves for the hearing of an appeal against the ruling of the Competition Tribunal which allowed the Wall- Mart /Mass Mart merger. The competitions appeals court has scheduled the hearing from the 20th – 21st and 24th of October. We will be there in our numbers to make a statement that we do not want Wal-Mart in our country, if it allowed it must do so according to our terms and not theirs.

Besides being notorious for undermining workers rights, Wall –Mart is also notorious about the fact that instead of investing in countries where they do business; they use the countries fiscal resources and avoid tax laws to enrich themselves. Unfortunately the rules of Capitalism allow them to do these things on the bases that for an example tax avoidance is not illegal.

According to the February 2011 research report done by Philip Matera titled “Shifting the Burden for Vital Public Services: Wal-Mart’s Tax Avoidance Schemes” it reveals that for every kind of tax that a retail company would normally pay or remit to support public services, Wal-Mart has engineered an aggressive scheme to pay less and keep more.

We thank Minister Ebrahim Patel, Rob Davies and Tina Joemat-Pettersson for joining for joining SACCAWU, SACTWU and South African Small Medium and Micro Enterprises Forum (SASMMEF) in the appeal against Wall- Mart take over. Wall – Mart must know that South Africa is not for sale.

Linked to these SACCAWU has planned marches against planned retrenchments by Pick n’ Pay and on amongst others we will be marching to the house of Raymond Ackerman to demand a stop in retrenchments. We will also be marching to the house Ms Hellen Zille.

Over and above the two salaries she is receiving she is also having shares at Pick n’ Pay Company which wants to retrench more than 3000 workers this year alone.

We want to ask her if she has any commitment to the protection of existing jobs and the creation of new ones.

We will also be escalating our Ant- Corruption campaign working with all our Alliance formations. We know that all alliance formations hold a view that the best way of dealing with corruption is through effecting arrests or and dismissals against the perpetrators.

Our planned protest action will also be linked to other actions on electricity, toll roads, public transport and other social services.

We have already requested a meeting with the minister of transport and we also want to ask him a simple question in a comradely manner i.e. Where is an integrated, safe, reliable and affordable public transport system for the country?

Comrades, what we know is that it is only when our organisations enter into genuine campaigns directed at advancing our transformation agenda can we be in a position to advance genuine unity.

The fact of the matter is that our people need us unites and they are not impressed by the individual strength of leaders or organisations but they want our collective strength in action.

If we fail on this simple task of achieving unity in action, they may punish us in the near future.

This Red October must be dedicated to achieving maximum unity in action amongst the progressive forces of change. It is when we are united in action that those who want to use our organisations for their selfish interests can get exposed.

The biggest mistake we can make today is to fold our arms and hope that all the challenges we are confronting as a movement and as a country will be solved by the strongest people somewhere in our midst.

Whilst individuals have played important role in shaping events in history but the popular masses have always been a decisive factor.

It is for this reason that we want to emphasise today that if we do not seize this moment and move together with our people everything we fought for and have achieved since the democratic breakthrough may gradually get its revolutionary content watered down or either be eroded over time.

Part of this will include forcing a process of having specific government departments to go back to communities that we visited during the previous election campaigns including the local government elections and to have all the genuine concerns addressed immediately. This is the most immediate task which we need to undertake as an alliance.