Workers stand to lose most if ANC booted out of power: Cosatu president
As political parties race to contest for power in the sixth local government elections on November 1, Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi says workers will be the biggest losers should the ruling party lose power.
For this reason, she said, the federation would wage “a relentless campaign” to mobilise support for the ANC.
No opposition party had shown it had workers' interests at heart, she said. Instead, they would do away with existing progressive laws, which now favour the working class.
“Workers cannot afford to see the ANC lose power to political parties with no history of supporting workers’ struggles. Workers cannot afford to see the election of parties who have unashamedly said they will repeal our progressive labour laws,” she said.
Addressing Cosatu’s seventh central committee meeting on Friday, Losi urged workers to support the party despite its ongoing woes and growing tensions over a wage freeze for public-sector workers.
“We entered this historic central committee with many daunting challenges facing workers. Workers are facing unprecedented times. Unemployment has pushed past 44%, many face retrenchments, the economy is in its deepest recession in a century.”
Despite this, Losi urged members and affiliates to rally behind the ANC.
“The ANC has gone through a painful period. It is still recovering from the decade of state capture and the demons of factionalism. Yet it remains a loyal ally of workers,” she said.
The committee, which met over the past four days, resolved to support what it labelled the “democratic breakthrough of 1994”.
Losi cited the passage of the National Minimum Wage bill into law as among the party’s biggest achievements in improving the wages of more than 5-million workers.
We cannot afford to be complacent. Workers will be the biggest losers of any setbacks or defeats faced by our ally, the ANC.Cosatu president Zingiswa Losi
“This includes farm and domestic workers who equalised with the NMW [national minimum wage] in 2021 and will reach it in 2022 respectively. We will work to ensure public works programme workers reach the NMW.”
She also hailed the ruling party for tabling the National Health Insurance Bill, seeking to provide quality universal healthcare for all workers.
“It is the ANC that is defending the expropriation bill and the amendment of section 25 as key tools to accelerate land reform. This is critical for thousands of farm workers who should be allowed the right to own their own land.
“We cannot afford to be complacent. Workers will be the biggest losers of any setbacks or defeats faced by our ally, the ANC,” she said.
Despite the challenges faced by workers, Losi believed the committee meeting would yield positive results.
“Workers are looking to their affiliates and Cosatu for leadership and hope. This central committee has held robust, frank and honest engagements. I am convinced that affiliates and the federation have risen to the occasion.
“We have emerged more united than ever. We have clear marching orders and tasks placed upon us by workers. We are clear on the urgency of meeting these expectations.”
ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa is on Monday expected to launch the party’s manifesto ahead of the polls. Losi said threw her weight behind it.
“It is a progressive manifesto that addresses Cosatu’s key demands on rebuilding local government, tackling corruption, delivering basic services, creating jobs and growing the economy,” she said.
Losi said the federation would unapologetically rally behind the ANC.
“The federation and affiliates will be waging a relentless campaign to mobilise every worker and their family to turn out in their numbers and return the ANC to office in every town, city and village on November 1.”