/ 11 January 2011

Cosatu pledges ‘undying support’ to ANC

Cosatu Pledges 'undying Support' To Anc

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Tuesday pledged its “undying support” to the African National Congress, saying it would ensure victory for its ally in the upcoming local government elections.

Spokesperson Patrick Craven, in a statement, wished the ANC a happy 99th birthday — celebrated in Polokwane over the weekend — and predicted the “mother of all parties” in 2012 when the ANC turns 100.

Relations between the ANC and its labour ally were strained in 2010 by a public-sector strike and tension over the union federation’s failure to invite the ANC to a civil society conference that it co-hosted.

Craven, however, said “the workers of South Africa will remain 100% in support” of the ANC.

Job creation
The key problem for the coming year would be convincing voters the resolutions adopted in Polokwane in 2007, and re-affirmed at the ANC’s national general council last year, would be adhered to and implemented, he added.

Job creation, said Craven, had to top the list of priorities, as job losses continued in 2010.

The shift from permanent to casual and temporary employment also persisted, having “devastating effects” on wages, job security and benefits for workers.

“The ANC will harvest a rich reward from the voters if the government is seen to be acting decisively to ban this human trafficking called labour broking, in line with its first priority area — the creation of decent work.”

Cosatu believed the long-term solution to unemployment lay in how quickly the government moved the economy on to a new growth path.

‘Underlying tragedy’
Poverty remained a problem, Craven said, but the ANC-led government had achieved “wonders”, increasing the number of people who had access to social grants from three million in 1996 to 15-million currently.

“The underlying tragedy, however, is that so many South Africans are solely dependent on grants. The priority remains to create work opportunities, with decent levels of pay, so that the poor can escape from their survivalist existence and enter the market as consumers.”

Cosatu bemoaned the gap in the salaries of employers and their workers.

“South African remains the most unequal society in the world. Yet this super-rich elite bemoan the damage done to the economy by ‘excessive’ wage claims by workers and ‘inflexible’ labour laws and warn us that we cannot afford the ANC’s reform policies like the NHI [national health insurance].”

The upcoming local government elections would provide the “best possible way” to listen to the views of the people and formulate policies to meet their demands. — Sapa