Source: The African National Congress
Title: ANC: Zuma: Address by the president, to the central executive committee of Cosatu, Midrand
Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini,
Cosatu Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi,
Members of Cosatu Central Committee,
SACP Secretary-General Blade Nzimande,
Members of ANC National Executive Committee;
Members of SACP Central Committee,
Union Leadership from Ghana, Nigeria,
Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland;
Esteemed Delegates from various workers formations;
Civil Society Formations,
I bring revolutionary and comradely greetings from the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress to this historic occasion of the 5th Central Committee meeting of Cosatu.
Let me also extend a warm revolutionary welcome to our esteemed comrades from the labour movement across the world.
The ANC is honoured to be part of this Central Committee meeting, the highest decision making organ of COSATU in between congresses.
Yesterday marked the anniversary of the Freedom Charter.
The Freedom Charter symbolizes unity and the inclusive, non-racial character of the ANC and democratic movement as a whole.
In celebrating the Freedom Charter, we should continue as the Alliance, to unite the South African people behind transformation, reconciliation and unity.
The ANC has always been the glue that holds South African society together. The ANC and its Alliance partners, including SANCO also share the responsibility of providing hope at all times to our people, even during the most difficult moments. This is because the Alliance contains within itself a wealth of revolutionary experience that no other political formation in this country can match.
The Alliance also remains the only political force that is capable of bringing about transformation, meaningful change and a better life to our people. We say this in all humility.
This historical role however comes with responsibility. It means we must never take this privileged place of the ANC and the Alliance in the hearts of our people for granted. We must work hard to maintain this position.
People will continue to respect the ANC and the Alliance if we project unity, cohesion, maturity and foresight in the handling of matters affecting the Alliance and the country.
This CEC provides an opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing the congress movement at this juncture, especially the ANC that we all have a responsibility to defend.
The movement is facing the crisis and problem that faces all strong organisations. Strength becomes a problem if it is not understood correctly politically and can become a disadvantage. Members of powerful organisations believe they can deal with things the way they want and not the way the situation demands.
For example, we may just decide to say whatever we want and not care about the image of the organisation because we believe even if we lose votes, it will not be a big loss as we are big anyway! This affects the ANC and also other liberation movements. Our strength could become our weakness if we are not careful. Secondly, one of the challenges we are dealing with is the disappearance of respect and discipline within the organisation.
Our culture has been to engage in dialogue in meetings among ourselves and convince one another on what we believe is the correct thing to do. We seem to be closing that space and have introduced a new culture of exchanging views and dealing with the views of other comrades publicly, even before we test such views within our organisations, and with the comrades who hold those views.
This has introduced a tendency of attempting to determine policy on our feet, having not gone through the proper process that would normally help to maintain the dignity of the organisation. There is a huge tendency of relying on the media to discuss matters that historically would have been discussed internally first. This may look good for us as individuals and put us in a particular standing in society and in the views of many, but organisationally, it erodes the standing of the organisation and the entire Alliance.
without realising it, we introduce some debates prematurely before we have discussed them among ourselves and it creates a space for more disagreement in public on matters that could have discussed and agreed on internally and give leadership on as a united voice.
If we start by disagreeing in public this has a tendency of creating a need for comrades to defend their positions externally as well to protect their public standing. We have to remember that we have tried and tested policy making processes in the organisation which began in 1912.
You will recall that at the inaugural conference of the ANC in Bloemfontein, eleven papers were read and the topics ranged from schools and churches, African labour, segregation and the land question amongst others. We started this process that early and it is valuable.
Another challenge we must deal with is the misunderstanding of our transparency and openness. We make our issues a “free for all”. This helps a situation wherein people who are not necessarily part of our broad movement but who have certain views to promote, and also those who may have money but certain objectives, to find a space to use other people to promote their policies in the movement.
It becomes a situation where the issues of the developmental state or the defence of the revolution are no longer prominent on the agenda. This erodes the principle of unity, respect, collective leadership and adhering to policies that advance the revolution and its defence.
When interests are at stake, the issue of leadership becomes a matter of “do or die”. The issue is not how the organisation will or should be led, but how the interests of certain people must be protected.
As said in the National General Council last year, the money issue has become a big sickness in the organization. It is used to promote self-interest and that impacts on how the organisation is run. This affects not only the ANC but the Alliance as a whole. This is a challenge that faces many liberation movements in the second decade of liberation and is a test of cadreship, whether people are ready to defend the revolution, or they submit to these challenges.
In some cases the organisations change and become something unrecognisable. We need to uproot this sickness so that our organisations whose interest is to defend the revolution can become instruments of the revolution rather than instruments of certain classes and certain people. That is the challenge we have to deal with today, all of us.
If we do that we will restore respect, comradeship and dignity in the ANC and the Alliance. We will stop the situation where what should have been the healthy and constructive contradictions within the broader movement become antagonistic and turns comrades into enemies of one another.
We will stop clique-ism and gossip and adhere to the revolutionary way of doing things. We will restore the character of the ANC. These tendencies must be fought by all who still call themselves revolutionaries.
The unity of the Alliance is paramount so that we can deal with these tendencies and unite the democratic movement and the country.
We are reminded of the words of Comrade Oliver Tambo at the funeral of ANC-SACP stalwart Moses Mabhida in Maputo. He said the African National Congress could only carry out its historic mission if it maintained the “character it had come to assume - that of a parliament of all the people of our country, the representative of our future, (and) the negation of the divisions and conflicts that racial arrogance and capitalist greed have imposed on our people’’.
The ANC as the leader of the Alliance working together with Alliance partners, has the responsibility to maintain the character of the movement as a disciplined force of the left, with a bias towards the poor and the working class.
As said, other than building Alliance unity and cohesion, we must also deliver on the mandate of improving the living and working conditions of our people, through building a strong and responsive developmental State.
We took stock of the tasks that face us at the National General Council last year. We also re-affirmed the importance of the Alliance and unity within the Alliance in advancing the national democratic revolution. Together we worked on the manifesto of the 2009 elections and also the local government elections manifesto this year.
Together as the Alliance we fought the election campaign in 2009 and the local government one this year, and brought our people out to vote in great numbers for the ANC. COSATU came out in full force and worked across the length and breadth of our country to ensure an ANC victory. This was done because the local government sphere is the closest to the people, and one which has the potential to improve the lives of workers if transformation occurs successfully at that level as it should.
The elections provided an opportunity for us to take mid-term stock of the progress made thus far with the social, economic and political transformation of our country. We can state boldly that political transformation has proceeded well since 1994. We have a progressive Constitution which enjoys the protection of the ANC, its Alliance partners and indeed all freedom loving people in our country.
The branches of government - the judiciary, parliament and the executive - are working well together, respecting one another’s independence. On the socio-economic front, we have made substantial progress, but there are still many challenges to deal with, given the legacy of colonial oppression and apartheid. In the January 8 statement this year, the ANC identified the priority during this phase of the national democratic revolution as economic transformation.
We singled out job creation as a necessity, based on the economic resolutions of Polokwane which called for the creation of decent work to help us deal with inequality, poverty and unemployment. We reiterate that political emancipation without economic freedom is incomplete.
The ANC Youth League discussed this matter further in its 24th national congress. The matter remains critical and urgent for all ANC structures as well as the Alliance as a whole. We lost over a million jobs due to the recent economic downturn. The economy is recovering but not in the manner that will enable us to quickly regain lost jobs or quickly create scores of new ones.
As the National Planning commission diagnostic report among others indicates, the poor are still marginalised and inadequate infrastructure delays social inclusion and economic growth. In essence, the lot of the working class is yet to improve further and in a more meaningful way, as we also acknowledged at the April Job Creation Summit of Labour and Government.
We therefore have to work steadily at rebuilding our economic base and explore new opportunities.
We must work faster to build the type of economy that will enable us to eradicate poverty, unemployment and inequality.
We agreed in Polokwane that we must build a mixed economy, where the state, private capital, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way to eliminate poverty and foster shared economic growth.
We are also building an economy that must be integrated with the world, especially Southern Africa and Africa. We also want a sustainable economy, where all South Africans, present and future, realise their right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being. Subsequent to our undertaking at the NGC in September, we finalized and launched a New Growth Path framework for the country, as our response to these economic challenges. It is based on the premise that our most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty is the creation of decent work.
The ongoing discussions at NEDLAC on the implementation of the New Growth Path, and government’s additional interface with business and labour on job creation assist us to put our heads together on this matter.
Already some progress is being made. For example the jobs fund has been launched, and is housed at the Development Bank of South Africa. The objective of the Fund is to co-finance public and private sector projects that will significantly contribute to job creation. The fund will aim to operate as a catalyst for innovation and investment in activities which directly contribute to long-term employment creation.
The small business institutions are being merged and tax breaks are being provided to companies wishing to invest, while protecting local industry at the same time. The more than 800 billion rand massive infrastructure programme planned for the next three years intends to broaden job opportunities for the young and unemployed in this country.
It will also provide the much needed entrepreneurship and skills for our economy.
We are also re-industrialising the economy, particularly the manufacturing sector, emphasising, research, innovation and skills development. Alternative energy, particularly the green economy is another focus area.
As indicated, we should contribute 30% of new energy generation from green energy sources in 20 years and create 300 000 jobs over the next decade. The green initiative also encompasses the reduction of carbon emissions to mitigate the impact of climate change.
These issues will come to the fore at the United Nations 17th climate change conference in Durban later this year. Our development finance institutions and state owned enterprises need to respond to the goals of a developmental state and a growing economy.
The Development Finance Institutions have already been directed by the ANC government to make lending easier for small businesses in line with the country’s developmental ethos.
In strengthening the economy to create jobs we are also looking at important sectors such as mining. We are keen to finalise and adopt the beneficiation strategy without delay. South Africa and Africa have mainly been exporters of raw materials and unprocessed diamonds and this has to change.
A case in point is that while we have been exporting diamonds for more than 100 years, we have not been able to develop local diamond cutting and polishing jewellery industries. We have therefore not been reaping the full benefits of our commodities.
Therefore, central to our Industrial Action Policy Plan is the beneficiation of our raw materials, including precious metal such as diamonds and platinum. We are working on the policy as the ANC government and are engaging the industry in this regard.
As you are aware we established a research team in line with the decision of the ANC NGC last year, relating to the call for the nationalisation of the mining industry. The team will report back to us in the next policy conference.
We wish to emphasise that all ANC and government economic policies remain valid and are being implemented.
Comrades and compatriots,
The land question also remains a national priority. The 52nd ANC national conference in Polokwane directed that we should distribute 30% of agricultural land by 2014. This was in response to the fact that we had only succeeded in redistributing four percent of agricultural land since 1994, while more than 80% of agricultural land remained in the hands of about 50,000 white farmers and agri-businesses.
We have stated on a few occasions that both the settlement of outstanding restitution claims and the redistribution of land to the African people has proceeded very slowly. We have also stated before that the willing-buyer and willing-seller policy, the only instrument which the government has relied on in the implementation of the land reform programme since 1994, has not yielded the desired results.
We have basically relied on the market to determine what land we buy and at what price since 1994, thereby effectively reducing government, despite its potential bargaining clout, into a price taker. This has opened government to all sorts of risks in the land market value chain. This includes potential collusion and fraud in the market.
We have begun to see some evidence of this and that is why the President of the Republic has signed a proclamation authorizing the Special Investigation Unit to investigate land reform transactions. Three government officials and a fourth person have been charged with fraud and corruption in this regard.
Land reform is urgent but requires careful handling and consultation, and must be conducted within the confines of the Constitution of the Republic.
In this regard, the ANC government has run a series of provincial and national consultative workshops with all social partners in the land sector since November, 2010 and discussions are ongoing. We are in the process of finalising a Green Paper that will set a new trajectory for land reform in South Africa.
As informed by the Polokwane conference and the ANC NGC in September last year, and articulated as well in the January 8 statement of 2011, the three fundamentals for land reform, that will apply, are the following:
- The de-racialization of the rural economy;
- The democratic land allocation and use across gender, race and class; and,
- The strict production discipline for guaranteed food security.
Central to the policy proposals in the Green Paper, will be the three-tier land tenure system that we announced in the ANC January 8 statement this year.
These are firstly that State and public land will be leasehold.
Secondly, other land will be available on freehold, with limitations or ceilings on the extent of land a person or body can own. Thirdly, policy will provide for precarious tenure for non-South Africans. This means that the land could revert back to the state should they not meet certain obligations.
In addition, the process to review the land tenure system, as it affects farm-workers, who are also farm-dwellers, is underway, in the form of the Land Tenure Security Bill 2010. This Bill seeks to promote and protect the relative rights of persons working and residing on farms, as well as those of farm owners. The Bill has already been published to elicit inputs and comments from the public; and, will soon be tabled in Parliament. This draft legislation will repeal and replace the Extension of Security of Tenure Act and the Land Reform: Labour Tenants Act. Included in the Bill, is the establishment of agri-villages to ensure sustainable settlements and productivity for farm dwellers.
In this financial year, government will pilot the establishment of these agri-villages in at least two Provinces.
To support land reform we propose the establishment of two institutions. The first is the Office of the Valuer-General. This office will set norms and standards to regulate the land market and supervise the work of land valuers. This will help to ensure that government and citizens are protected from exploitation by unscrupulous players in the land market.
The second is a Land Management Commission, with powers to investigate land transactions and review title deeds. It will also determine and maintain a register of “who owns South Africa," amongst its powers and functions.
We also propose a Land Rights Management Board to among other things, regulate agri-villages and provide legal and mediation support to farm workers and farm dwellers.
We are optimistic about the success of the land reform programme, but reiterate the need for cooperation and speed. We have also found that solutions are possible where discussions take place amongst affected parties on land restitution.
An example is the government discussions with Mondi and Sappi companies, on how to settle land claims on forestry land.
Talks have also been undertaken with Sugar SA, to develop sustainable models for settling claims on sugarcane farms.
These discussions yielded positive results, which have still to be exploited to the full. This clearly shows that South Africans, given an opportunity, are ready and prepared to work together and with government to find solutions to problems. We urge all affected parties and sectors to work together within the parameters and available forums to ensure the successful implementation of the land reform programme.
This is a necessary transformation process for the country. By the time we reach the centenary of the 1913 Land Act we should have gone far in redressing the pain of the past. This is in the interests of all South Africans, black and white, and in the interests of the national reconciliation process.
Comrades and friends,
Our social transformation work also continues.
Education and skills development are key priorities both in government and the private sector. The ANC government is currently rolling out comprehensive strategies to improve the performance of the Sector Education and Training Authorities or SETAs. This intervention is aimed at increasing access to training and skills development opportunities.
It will also help us achieve the fundamental transformation of inequalities linked to class, race, gender, geography, age and disability in our society. The ANC and its government would like to see outcomes for example, that upgrade artisan aides to become full artisans and which promote closer links between public Further Education and Training colleges and employers.
This will enable students to obtain workplace training opportunities, either as apprentices, learners or interns.
We must also develop research capacity to ensure that SETAs become labour market experts in their sectors. We urge COSATU to ensure maximum worker participation in the development of sector skills plans as well as workplace skills plans.
Regarding health matters, the country’s work in fighting HIV and AIDS is yielding results as evidenced by amongst others the good news of the decrease in the mother to child infection rates. The successful testing campaign is also an example that our people are heeding messages of prevention, treatment and support for the infected and affected. We commend COSATU and all in the partnership against AIDS, which is embodied in the South African National Aids Council, led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
As the Alliance, we share the responsibility of fighting crime and corruption.
The ANC took a hardline against corruption in the September NGC, to the extent of resolving to establish an integrity committee to assist us to deal with this matter.
The ANC government has instituted several investigations, through the Special Investigating Unit, to probe alleged corruption or maladministration in national and provincial departments and also a few municipalities and state owned enterprises. While not saying the accused parties or entities are guilty of corruption, the investigations demonstrate our seriousness in dealing with these matters.
The active participation of the Alliance in this crucial campaign against corruption is most welcome and necessary.
There are some issues that are still outstanding from our 2009 Manifesto. Discussions among the social partners regarding amendments to labour legislation to deal with labour brokers and other issues are progressing through NEDLAC. We are confident that the consequent amendments to those legislative proposals on labour brokering will promote creation of decent work. We also appreciate the recent fruitful bilateral session between the ANC and COSATU on the Protection of Information Bill.
We trust that the process going forward will produce legislation that meets the requirements of state security, while also taking into account the concerns raised within the Alliance.
We are now in the middle of the annual collective bargaining season. Collective bargaining is a right that is enshrined in our constitution which we fought for and will always defend and protect.
Other than improving living standards, collective bargaining also has a critical role to play in facilitating economic growth and job creation.
As the South African economy is recovering and starting to grow, now is the time to find creative ways in which agreements between employers and trade unions can do the traditional job of redistributing income and improving conditions of employment, but also make a contribution to productivity improvements thereby laying the basis for expanding employment.
In pursuit of our Polokwane resolution we will continue to strengthen party to party relations with former liberation movements and other fraternal movements in the continent and the South, to enrich one another’s programmes.
We believe that the revolution in North Africa arose from the leaders’ indifference to the plight of their people, especially the poor and working class. We should therefore not allow ourselves to go that route by being insensitive and thereby open this continent to opportunism and depredation of the previous centuries.
Yesterday, we held a successful meeting of the African Union Adhoc High Level Committee on Libya. The Committee met following a series of engagements with the Libyan authorities as well as the transitional national council based in Benghazi. The AU committee called for a suspension of hostilities and a national dialogue that will lead to an interim administration, ceasefire and ultimately the normalization of the situation in Libya.
Of importance is the need to allow the Libyans and Africans to lead the process and produce and African solution to the Libyan situation.
This CEC has many critical issues to deal with relating to challenges facing the labour movement and the democratic movement as a whole.
We have said that in all our programmes, we must maintain the character of the ANC as a disciplined force of the left, with a bias towards workers and the poor. We must prioritise the unity and cohesion of the ANC and that of the Alliance. Most importantly, we must prioritise the unity of all the South African people, black and white. We must also continue building hope in our country, and strengthen the ANC so that it can continue to play its role as the glue that holds South African society together.
Most importantly, we should remain focused on the ultimate goal of building a non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and more prosperous society.
I wish you a successful and fruitful Central Executive Committee meeting.
I thank you.