Issues confronting the Nation

In Moments of Grace, The Politics of Politics on March 9, 2011 at 1:46 pm

The SAMWU National Executive Committee meeting (NEC) noted a number of serious developments confronting the nation that need responding to.

Samwu at its last Congress in 2009 and the Cosatu Congress of the same year resolved that it would support the ANC in the forthcoming local government elections. However, a number of recent developments have made the implementation of this resolution difficult to enforce. The resolution was premised on the ANC being worker friendly. This position is becoming increasingly unlikely to believe.

Cosatu has failed to secure a pact with the ANC. This has meant that many of the issues that concern the working class have not been incorporated into the manifesto. The manifesto continues to provide for the needs of capitalists. We fear that the dire straits of working class communities will continue to be ignored in the aftermath of the elections.

The nomination process of ANC councillors continues to be fraught with a lack of transparency and democracy. Positions of list conferences are completely being ignored. Furthermore, there are names on the list of ANC members who have been completely discredited due to mismanagement and other undisciplined and self-interested actions.

The ANC has failed to dismantle provinces, which are a serious drain on the fiscus, meaning that there is less money to provide much needed service delivery.

National government continues to pursue the transfer of services from local to provincial government despite clear evidence that health services are best placed at local government level.

The failure of the ANC to agree that the capitalist plays no progressive role in the development of our country. The presence of capitalist elements within ANC structures continues to ensure that state policies benefit these individuals and the broader capitalist class. Without the purging of these elements from the ANC, it will be impossible to address the needs of the vast majority in this country.

This bias towards capitalism is expressed by the appointment of Jimmy Manyi as cabinet spokesperson. The President of the Black Management Forum represents the interest of the upper sections of the black middle class who are closely associated with the interests of capital. His racist comments represent the arrogance of the African section of the bourgeoisie as they seek to benefit at the expense of other sections of the bourgeoisie. We condemn his statements and call upon the Zuma administration to show their commitment to non-racialism and a working class bias to dismiss him forthwith.

The killing of Msiza by SAPS last week in Tshwane, while lawfully and peacefully undertaking his Shop Steward duties leading a peaceful picket of SAMWU members.

That this fatality is one in a long line of deaths and serious injuries that have been sustained by SAMWU members at the hands of police while exercising their civil liberties.

The fact that police attend SAMWU and other Labour Movement marches and actions carrying live rounds of ammunition underlines their intent to use deadly force if they deem it appropriate.

The disinformation police spread by briefing the media that there were acts of violence being perpetrated by SAMWU members, including damage to property, none of which are substantiated.

That there appears to be a concerted campaign by the police and other security forces, in collaboration with municipalities to undermine legitimate trade union action and especially SAMWU in contradiction to the law and Constitution.

We have the further militarisation of the police force in the recent period. This development undermines democracy and distances the police from the people it is meant to serve.

That SAMWU will not be intimidated by such attacks and will escalate efforts to counter privatisation and expose corruption.

The action of the SAPS to invade the office of the Public Protector in the wake of her disclosure of mismanagement of the lease and purchase of the new police headquarters is equally deplorable. We call on the police to unreservedly apologise with this invasion.

We note the dismissal of 1 000 employees at Tshwane Metropolitan Council without a hearing. Further dismissals have taken place in Ekurhuleni, North West and the Free State. This comes at the same time that the government has committed itself to creating 500 000 new jobs.

An agreement dealing with wage scales was concluded on 20 April 2010. Salga subsequently tampered with this agreement forcing the union to seek legal recourse to rectify Salga’s action. This court action has not yet resolved itself.

This Union therefore resolves the following:

  1. In the spirit of Samwu’s commitment to support the ANC in the forthcoming elections, we find it impossible to convince our members and the community to do this until the issues mentioned above are resolved. We thus call upon the ANC leadership to intervene urgently to address our concerns.
  2. The ANC is also called upon to engage Salga, which is dominated by the ANC, to act urgently to address the serious concerns raised above.
  3. We call upon the ANC to move speedily to dismantle provinces and release funds for urgent intervention in the local government sector. In the same vein, as per President Zuma’s State of the Nation Address, a review of local government structures.
  4. That there be an urgent inquiry into the death of Comrade Msiza.
  5. That a campaign be launched to demand a Judicial Inquiry into Police Violence and Tactics in relation to Trade Union Action, and that this become a key national campaign of the Union and COSATU.
  6. These concerns about the police’s heavy-handed actions are similar to the manner in which they have approached the Public Protector.
  7. That the Union will open criminal charges in this regard.
  8. That additional legal capacity and expertise should be sought from the Legal Resources Centre or similar organisation, and that a case is opened with the Human Rights Commission.
  9. That we raise this matter in Alliance Structures, and if necessary intervene into the Local Elections Process to raise the demand for a Judicial Inquiry and for end to police violence.
  10. That we call for a two hour national work stoppage on the day of Comrade Msiza’s funeral in every municipality to draw public attention to the unlawful killing of our comrade, and also to demand a Judicial Inquiry and an end to police violence against workers.
  11. We call upon the ANC structures to immediately intervene to ensure the reinstatement the dismissed Tshwane and other workers.

Issued by:

Tahir Sema,
National Media and Publicity Officer,
South African Municipal Workers’ Union of COSATU
Office: 011 331 0333

Fax: 086 618 6479
Cell: 082 940 3403


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