ANC Address to the POPCRU 2nd National Policy Conference
25 July 2014
From the onset, let me thank you comrades for inviting the ANC to be part of this important event, the National Policy Conference. The convernorship of this policy conference reflects a character of a progressive union that subscribes to principles of democracy.
We can only make a determination whether our policies are making a desired impact when we meet like this, with a sole objective, to make a frank and honest review of our policies. Comrades, this policy takes place exactly two months since the last General election held in May. The African National Congress, your organization was overwhelmingly voted back into power by masses of our people. The victory of the ANC, is your victory.
Let me take this opportunity to sincerely thank the leadership and broader membership of POPCRU for working tirelessly during the las election for the ANC victory. Many great leaders of the African National Congress have their political grounding and roots from the trade union movement. In other words, comrades, trade union movement has become a breeding ground of ANC leaders.
I had a personal experience of working with the NEC POPCRU led by its President during door to door campaign in Nelson Mandela region, Eastern Cape. We thank you for the sacrifices you have made for the decisive victory for the ANC, we also do not take for granted the political decision you took as the organization, to campaign for the ANC in the last General election. Notwithstanding the contradictions and differences on a number of issues that will arise time to time, comrades, POPCRU must never doubt the ANC as the only vehicle through which workers rights can be achieved.
The African National Congress is the only organization that can truly lead the agenda for social transformation. Together, we have made South Africa a better country to live in for all of her people over the past 20 years. The resounding victory of the ANC during the last election is the confirmation of the reality. As we meet here today, we must assess the impact of our policies not just as a union but also assess those of a movement as a whole.
ANC last National Conference affirmed that 20 years of political freedom laid the firm foundation for us to enter a second phase of socio – radical economic transformation. Whilst we have scored impressive progressive over the past 20 years, we witnessed a consolidation of a right-wing agenda. This agenda launched an offensive onslaught and venom on the character of the liberation movement particularly on its leadership. This agenda seeks to dislodge the movement as the illegitimate voice of the people, which cannot be trusted, because it has abandoned the values of President Nelson Mandela.
We have also witnessed the consolidation of the ultra-left agenda which shares it’s unashamedly hatred of the leadership of the ANC, like the right-wing. This too, has sort to dislodge the movement, as the illegitimate voice of the people that shouldn’t be trusted. Since the formation of the ANC, and since the formation of Cosatu, these two tendencies have failed to capture the soul of the ANC.
The hegemony of the congress movement within Cosatu, there has always been attempts to contest it, including attempts to change Cosatu to be something else. Comrades, whatever your differences are, including leadership preferences at times, never change Cosatu from being a militant, radical and discipline voice of the workers, a progressive trade union federation. Cosatu is the only weapon workers have, to protect and defend their rights; we must defend this character of Cosatu.
Throughout history, of many liberation movements, there have been attempts to replace them with rebel movements, using the genuine grievances of our people through popular revolts. We have seen these in Nicaragua, the so -called Arab spring uprising, and nowhere in history has this agenda succeeded, even in instances where rebels as supported by foreign country’s such as in Libya etc.
It is this understanding that the ANC took a decision to intervene and help the federation to deal with some of the issues that have caused instability within Cosatu. We committed ourselves to meet all Cosatu affiliates and report back to the CEC. This process is near completion, we are left with two affiliates to conclude this important task. Comrades our interest is the UNITY of the federation (Cosatu), a divided Cosatu’s not good for the vulnerable workers. A divided Cosatu is not good for the ANC, equally, a divided ANC is not good for Cosatu. We must do everything we can to build the unity of the federation
Equally, as POPCRU, we must welcome the announcement by the Minister of Police, and work hard to professionalize the service. We must deal with some of the very negative story’s that get associated with members of e service. We must isolate rogue elements within the service who otherwise damage the good effort of many of your members who work tirelessly to make our community’s safe.
At the Mangaung ANC national conference, we correctly resolved to engage in organizational renewal, in this regard, President Zuma launched the Imvuselelo campaign which will focus amog other things, to deepen political education among ANC members, and keep constant dynamic contact between ANC and the voters. We call on POPCRU to join the ANC in this campaign as we go back to our people.
Comrades, more than 700 Palestinians have been massacred by the Israeli defence force in Gaza. ANC calls for all parties to end violence to allow peace a chance. We however express our unequivocal support for the Palestinian people in their struggle for self determination.
There can never be a justification for the massacre of defenceless children and women including families are wiped out daily. This action can only create atmosphere of hatred and resentment to many generations to come, it must stop. President Zuma has decided to send a team to meet both Israel and Palestine to express our growing concern about the escalation of violence and loss of civilians’ life. This is practical action taken by ANC government led by President Zuma as we all watch with shock disproportionate use of force by Israeli forces against defenceless Palestinian people.