Thursday, September 16, 2010

African National Congress and the Congress of South African Trade Unions Joint Statement, September 14, 2010

Press Statements

Authors: Gwede Mantashe, Zwelinzima Vavi

ANC and COSATU joint statement
14 September 2010

The Officials of the ANC and COSATU national leadership met today, the 13th of September 2010. The meeting took place in the context of the preparations towards the ANC NGC, and the recent public sector strike.

There were three areas of discussion in the meeting, which were concluded as follows:

On the Public Sector Strike

1. COSATU took an opportunity to reiterate the public apology it had issued twice during the strike to the President, and all the government leaders, who were on the receiving end of personalised insults articulated by some protesters in placards and through song. Such songs and insults do not reflect the traditions of COSATU and we understand these have a potential of taking focus away from the real and genuine demands by the public sector workers. Further, such songs and placards were never designed by COSATU but originated from individuals, some of whom may not even be members of the Federation, given that marches were joint activities organised by all public sector unions.

COSATU, from its own principled stance, made this apology unconditionally because it believes that robust debates, including public debates, must be conducted within an environment of basic respect for everyone.

The ANC welcomed and accepted the apology.

It was agreed that space was needed for a balanced assessment of the strike which, inter alia, would look at how all parties to the dispute could have handled matters differently and better; and draw lessons from the assessment moving forward.

2. COSATU reiterated that its overall strategic political task is to defend the progressive outcomes of the ANC’ 52nd National Congress, including the incumbent leadership collective thereof.

Both parties agree that in the current period it is important to take forward the Polokwane mandate, and ensure that the ANC succeeds in implementing the resolutions of Polokwane, and the ANC manifesto’s five priorities. This is a key task shared by all components of the Alliance.

The meeting further agreed that the coming ANC NGC meeting offers the ANC a moment to conduct a mid-term review of its programmes guided by the ANC discussion papers that have been issued. Both formations are committed to ensure that the NGC, as a policy forum, retains its intended focus, which is to review progress in taking forward the movement’s policies, and does not get diverted by divisive issues such as the untimely 2012 leadership question. In this regard we agreed that both organisations must create an atmosphere where such discussions will be conducted in a positive environment.

We call on all components of the Alliance, including the Leagues, to reassert the long-standing tradition of allowing internal processes of the movement to deal with any differences and concerns, and not take such issues to the public in an untimely manner. We, therefore, call on all the leadership of the Alliance and MDM formations to assist us in this objective by refraining from making comments that will spoil the environment we seek to create in the NGC and beyond.

3. The meeting received a presentation of the COSATU CEC discussion paper on the Alliance. The ANC engaged with the paper. The conclusion was that, particularly on policy questions, there was in reality a lot of common ground between the two organisations. Areas of divergence of view will be isolated and further discussed after the ANC NGC.

It is agreed that the Alliance Summit will be held as soon as all the discussions had happened at leadership level, so that we provide the necessary leadership when the Alliance Summit takes place.

It is envisaged that the Alliance Summit will be held during October/November 2010.

Issued by:

Gwede Mantashe
Secretary General
African National Congress (ANC)

Zwelinzima Vavi
General Secretary
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU)

Jackson Mthembu 0823708401
Patrick Craven 0828217456
Ishmael Mnisi 0823335550

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