Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Speech Delivered by Cde Skhumbuzo Mpanza General Secretary of South African National Civic Organisation
30 May 2017

The President of Cosatu Cde Sdumo Dlamini
The Deputy President of the ANC Cde Cyril Ramaphosa
The General Secretary of the South African Communist Party Cde Blade Nzimande
Members of the CEC of Cosatu
The Leadership collective of the revolutionary alliance the ANC, SACP, COSATU, SANCO and the Mass Democratic Movement Formations
Distiguished Guests
Members of the Media
Compatriots Ladies and Gentlemen

This morning receive herewith the fratenal greeting from the leadership and membership of the vanguard of our communities, revolutionary civic movement the South African National Civic Organisation

As we draw inspiration from Ho Chi Minh, one of the great revolutionaries of the twentieth century who excelled as a leader, a teacher, a journalist, a strategist, an internationalist, a unifier, a negotiator, a creative thinker, a poet, a guerrilla fighter who endured decades of exile, prison, torture and decades of war when he said, (quote)" Remember that the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability. "(close quote)

Having survived worst storms since its formation and in recent years, I guess that COSATU, the giant federation can identify with the profound words by the guerilla leader who lived with his comrades in the most basic possible conditions in the caves of Cao Bang, often having to forage for food. And yet, his dedication to the cause of the Vietnamese independence, unification, and global socialism never faltered.

As a guerilla leader who later became president of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh fought against French, Japanese and US colonialism with relentless energy, profound intelligence and undying passion.

Like our very own Oliver Reginald Tambo, Ho Chi Minh led his people through every up and down from the early 1920s up until his death in 1969.

Ho Chi Minh provided the major inspiration and strategic vision for the Vietnamese revolution, promoted and build maximum national unity against imperialism, bringing the peasantry, working class, intellectuals and patriotic capitalist elements together in order to struggle against imperialism.

He led the work of inspiring, organising and educating the masses of the Vietnamese people for their long struggle against imperialism and for socialism.

It was through consistently making correct analysis of the prevailing balance of forces along with other top leaders of the Vietnamese resistance that Ho Chi Minh scored historic victories such as the capture of power in August 1945, the defeat of the French occupation in 1954, the building of socialism in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam), and the Tet Offensive of 1968, which served as the major turning point in the war with the US.

This Central Executive Committee meeting affords COSATU an opportunity to analyse the prevailing balance of forces, adjust its sails to weather the storm and or alter the cause.

More than ever before, the revolutionary alliance is required to strive for principled unity and deal decisively with the challenges facing South Africa.

We can no longer afford to be on the periphery while capital is in the cockpit with a political elite that is seemingly guided by self-preservation, advancing its own interest, those of its families and cronies above those of the masses of our people who are in grinding poverty.

As the vanguard of our communities, we have appealed to the African National Congress(ANC) as the leader of the revolutionary alliance and society to move with speed to self-correct and disassociate itself from skilled manipulators who have enticed some of its leaders with money, corrupted our political system, appropriated themselves the authority of the state, its economy and wealth.

The delay in appointing a judicial commission to investigate allegations of state capture and associated looting has given traction to and united counter revolutionary forces. It is doing more harm to the image of Africa's oldest liberation movement and destroying the credibility as well as the brand that has been the only hope for the masses of our people for over a century.

Although it has come a bit too late to convince us that it was its desired intention to bring the matter to finality, we nonetheless welcome the ANC NEC's support for the probe. We hope that government will no longer stall the process but implement the decision without further delay.

Judicial overreach will not occur if the executive adheres to good governance, prudent financial management, accountability and is upholding the constitution in carrying out its duties as well as exercising responsibilities per its constitutional mandate.

The impression that State owned enterprises are cash cows for the political elite and the Guptas does not bode well for our fledgling democracy. It suggests that our decision-making processes including deployment to key levers of power and other organs of state have been hijacked or outsourced from Luthuli house and Union Building to Saxonworld.

The Brian Molefe saga suggests that the centre is no longer holding. If it is, then someone need to explain to us how an individual facing damning corruption allegations can waltz his way in and out of parliament with millions following him and procedures being flouted left right and centre.

We cannot and will not accept to lose power in 2019 because of self-interest, greed and corruption that seems to be blinding those in authority who are supposed take decisions in the interest of Remember that the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability workers of our country and our communities.

As a civic movement, we are determined to strengthen and support renewal of the ANC because it remains the only progressive force committed to addressing the legacy of apartheid and advancing the objectives of the national democratic revolution.

History will judge us harshly if we allow the party that OR Tambo, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Moses Kotane, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Elijah Barayi to lose power because of denialism and protecting self-interest, factionalism, greed and corruption.

To this end, we are calling for a realignment of the alliance to reclaim our traditional support base and work tirelessly to unite our people and intensify the fight against poverty, unemployment and inequality.

We are committed to work with COSATU as part of our Khuluma Mhlali-Safer community campaign to ensure that workers live in safe communities and that our children, women and the elderly are protected against abuse, violent crime as well as the scourge of gender based violence.

While the review of the National Crime Prevention Strategy will allow resources to be allocated where they are needed the most, activating street committees to support crime prevention is the first step towards exposing corrupt police officials and criminals that are terrorising our communities.

We call on you to use this important gathering to solidify your position on the ANC Policy discussion documents and approach to ensure that as many of you are nominated delegates who will influence and make a meaningful contribution at the policy conference.

Workers are the livewire of our revolution and the lifeblood of our economy which need to grow, overcome the setback of credit downgrades and create more jobs.

It is in the interest of every worker and the unemployed in our communities for COSATU to rise above the turbulent challenges of personality cults, factionalism, patronage and careerism which are threatening the unity of our revolutionary alliance and mass democratic movement.

Our analysis for the coming ANC elective conference in December 2017 is a potential for further deepened divisions in the movement. We thus urge you to apply a sober critical thinking on how we should approach the 54th ANC conference.

We fear most the after-effects that might even affect us on the 2019 national elections which we cannot afford to reach with a cracked organisation.

Amongst our major interests is who becomes the president of the country as this will determine the life and survival of our communities.

As SANCO we have after much deliberation arrived at the conclusion that the only way we can determine the president of the country is to influence the election of the ANC president.

We can't afford a situation whereby the ANC is shaken in the upcoming elections and we can't witness a time in our history where again our society is leaderless.

We therefore believe that the most feasible way to retain unity and cohesion in our movement is to allow the current Deputy President of the ANC to ascend to ANC President in the upcoming National Conference in December.

We strongly believe this will help to deliver a most united ANC in the elections in 2019 and beyond.

Furthermore, we trust the experience and capabilities that Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa has in the presidential office which can benefit our movement and the society at large.

The choice of the political leadership of a country, especially the head of state has to be informed by the key competencies required to run a country, the strategic goals and vision of the type of society envisaged and the main issues and challenges facing the country and the globe.

The key obligations and responsibilities of government is to facilitate political, social, economic and human development and to protect and maintain national sovereignty, social security, peace, justice, stability and national unity and social cohesion.

The government performs these obligations and responsibilities through the functions of governance, administration, leadership and management by overseeing legislation and policy making (parliament), execution or implementation (Executive /cabinet), adjudication (judiciary) and oversight (section 21) institutions.

The sustainability of these political activities and processes and the entire political system depends highly on the levels of social partnership between the state, organised labour, organised civil society and business and the extent to which all sectors of society feel included or excluded and have confidence in the political leadership and the political processes.

Active and strategic participation in international, multi-lateral, regional and bi lateral platforms and relations is also critical to the performance of government.

It is clear from these factors that the president and head of state should be a person who have a fair balance of competencies and insights in governance, administration , management and leadership, has vast experience in the workings and traditions of government, organised labor, organised civil society and organised business and can elicit confidence from all these sectors and has a thorough knowledge and understanding of the constitutional and legal framework within which the government of the day operates.

In conclusion, though COSATU has experienced turbulence in the recent past, Ho Chi Minh reminds us that the storm is a good opportunity for the pine and the cypress to show their strength and their stability.

The leadership of COSATU should be driven by one desire, i.e. the desire to unite all the workers in our country and to defend their interests.

We wish to reiterate our commitment to implementation of joint programmes linking workers and community struggles as we used to do in 1970 and the 1980s and call upon workers to avail themselves to serve in street committees, village committees and other mass based program of action.

The more radical second phase of our National Democratic Revolution and implementation of the National Development Plan require the partnership of a stronger and united federation that we need to accelerate service delivery in our communities and deepen transformation across all sectors.

We count on COSATU to pursue the demand for a living wage and to protect vulnerable workers who are still exploited and racially abused in various industries including farming communities.

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Amandla, Matla, Matimba


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