The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted an online article that is circulating on social media, from an organisation called Africa News, claiming that there was a conspiracy between COSATU and big business to get rid of President Jacob Zuma.
COSATU dismisses this as another outlandish conspiracy theory promoted by cranks masquerading as serious journalists. A cursory examination of this extravagant claim reveals that they do not offer any evidence, except quoting a meeting between COSATU and BLSA that took place at Magaliesburg in June 2017.
Anyone who has paid the slightest attention to the political developments in this country will know that calls for President Jacob Zuma to go ,within the ranks of COSATU started in November 2016 from our affiliated union NEHAWU, seven months before, we met BLSA in June.
This decision was only debated in April 2017 during a COSATU Special CEC meeting after President Jacob Zuma reshuffled his cabinet and left the ANC and the country’s economy in tatters.
COSATU is the only organisation in this country that refused to march with big business under the SAVE SA umbrella because as we argued at the time, the capture of the state went beyond the Gupta patronage network and some in big business were guilty of capturing and corrupting the state.
When we marched against State Capture and Corruption on the 27th of September 2017, we marched against both big business and government because, to this day ,we refuse to succumb to the narrow definition of State Capture and Corruption. So ,we have no idea how many layers of ignorance do you have to get through before you come up without a headline that claims, COSATU colluded with big business to remove President Zuma.
For the record, COSATU makes no apologies for calling and campaigning for the removal of President Jacob Zuma and for joining the efforts to pushback against the Gupta Family that had become a rent-seeking and unaccountable caste in this country.
The federation has not gone far as to claim that it alone was the architect of President Zuma’s removal but we welcome the compliment and we accept the charge without any objections.
We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom and champions of social justice, and whenever we see signs of abuse of power and corruption, we will always pushback without fear of favour. We carried the mandate from the workers without fail and we will continue to honour any mandate that comes from the workers without compromising it in anyway.
President Jacob Zuma lacked the vision and the integrity to effectively run the country, let alone the ANC and there was no reason whatsoever for him to continue in office and it was most certainly not in the national interest for him to do so.
On allegations that we met with big business, we also plead guilty. We met with big business under their umbrella body BLSA in June 2017. The two day meeting took place on the 23rd and 24th June 2017 ,and as we said at the time it was convened because we believed that solutions to South Africa’s pressing socio-economic challenges are highly dependent on business and labour leaders communicating, and where possible working together, in the national interest.
There was nothing clandestine about the meeting and as a result we issued a joint statement to communicate the outcomes of the meeting. Only those who lack the brain muscle to do any heavy lifting and the intellectually unemployed would try to come out a year later and try to conjure up a conspiracy out of a meeting that was highly publicized.
On the point that COSATU General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali was making during the ANC Manifesto launch, there is nothing sinister or untoward. He was making a point that we met big business last year in Magalieburg and complained about their Investment strike in the economy.
They told us they were not investing in the economy because of state capture, policy uncertainty and corruption. The mining sector in particular were the biggest complainants and now that they have an administration that is engaging and sensible they continue to retrench workers and are failing to invest in the sector..
The issues that big business have been complaining about are now being tackled and we demand that they come to the party and stop making excuses. This is something that we have said and we will continue to say in all platforms because it’s our duty to engage and fight for a better economy and a better life for our members.
We will continue to meet, engage, cajole, coerce and fight against big business because our relationship is characterized by the permanent contradictions that make that inevitable.
We are not confused as COSATU because we know exactly what workers want out of their federation. Workers have made it very clear that they want their federation to remain occupied with broad social and political issues, as well as the immediate concerns of its members. It must continuously strive to remain a social force for transformation. They demanded that COSATU’s influence on society must remain based on its organised power, its capacity to mobilise, its socio – economic programme and policies and its participation in political and social alliances.
All the attacks directed against the federation, including the use of some sections of the media for misinformation and generating perceptions, which seek to undermine the federation and its leadership will not succeed.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794