Cosatu made a dramatic intervention yesterday on the eve of the ANC electoral conference with the release of a booklet that urges worker delegates not to devote their energy to the leadership contest for the top six positions but to concentrate on policy matters.
The pamphlet analyses the period since the ANC’s 2007 Polokwane conference.
Cosatu is entitled to send only 25 delegates to the conference but many unionists will be present as ANC delegates.
Zwelinzima Vavi, Cosatu’s general secretary, said the leaflet had been produced at the instruction of the federation’s central executive committee.
The document says members of the ruling tripartite alliance have had key conferences this year which agreed in critical respects on the challenges facing them.
“We all agree that the national conference at Mangaung cannot be business as usual. Our broad movement and the country are demanding a clear message of change, but particularly in three core areas: far-reaching structural change in the economy, which will fundamentally transform people’s lives; decisive change in the state to systematically build leadership and capacity to drive development and direct the economy; and radical change and renewal in our broad movement to reassert a culture of service to our people, accountability etc,” it says.
Cosatu says the country is facing a multiple crisis. The ANC policy conference in June focused on some elements of this crisis, in particular poverty, inequality and unemployment, and the movement’s emerging internal crisis.
The leaflet says: “The movement needs to ensure that the language of a radical shift is matched by radical content.
“We need to see nothing less than the systematic progress to implement the demands of the Freedom Charter. Critically, the movement needs to build capacity to implement and deal with the crisis of non-implementation and mediocrity.”
It says the conference cannot devote its main energy to a leadership contest for the top six. Leadership discussions need to take place in the context of these transformation imperatives and a holistic discussion on leadership aimed at ensuring the capacity to meet the challenges of this period.
Cosatu says endemic outsourcing creates a climate in which tender fraud flourishes as more contracts are dangled in front of private companies for work that could be done by workers employed directly.
“Therefore, an important step to combat corruption is to reverse the policy of outsourcing public work. Putting work out to tender, which public service workers could do internally, threatens jobs in the public sector and leads to a worsening of working conditions. The Department of Public Works must be strengthened to implement this policy.”
However, Vavi denied this was advocating abolishing outsourcing and tenders, which would lead to unemployment.
“We are not saying abolish it. We are saying limit it as far as possible. You can do it where the state has no capacity but build the capacity of the state.”