Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Progressive Youth Movement on the COSATU Rally

Khayelitsha Training Centre, Corner Spine and Lwandle Road, Khayelitsha, Cape Town

Tel: 076 731 6157/ 083 886 1831, Fax: 021 447 5770

An affiliate of the Democratic Left Front (

25 October 2012


We, as the Progressive Youth Movement (PYM: a social movement which organises unemployed young people in the Khayelitsha township in Cape Town), express our full solidarity with all the mineworkers who heroically fought for a living wage against the bosses, the ANC’s capitalist state and the sellout positions of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Their struggle for a living wage is the same as our struggle for a living income for the unemployed and our campaigns for decent service delivery that meets the needs of the people. Mineworkers in South Africa are undermined by unaccountable trade union leadership, self-enrichment of union leaders, union collaboration with the bosses, and enslavement of worker issues to the priorities of the ANC-SACP-COSATU alliance. As the PYM, we have no choice but to critically engage COSATU in defence of fighting mineworkers and to stand for a revolutionary solution. We declare our class solidarity with our class brothers who work in the mines whose ongoing dismissals add to the numbers of the unemployed. Why is COSATU not taking its side unwaveringly on the side of the fighting mineworkers?

When workers are not satisfied with their union that means a split is inevitable. If labour bureaucrats sellout workers and work with the bosses, workers will find an alternative either progressive or regressive. This happened with the NUM. NUM failures and sellouts caused the formation of Association of Mineworkers Construction Union (AMCU). Instead of properly representing workers, the NUM was concerned in its shares in Unibank which it co-owns with mining companies and its other capitalist investments through the Mineworkers Investment Company. As a result, NUM lost members in the mines especially in Rustenburg. Last week, Zwelinzima Vavi’s convoy was regrettably stoned at Amplats. Vavi thought that he could soften the angry workers whom were with NUM, whom they feel that NUM betrayed them, and he wanted to revive NUM in the area. Unfortunately, things did not go well for him.

Now COSATU has plans to host a rally in Rustenburg this weekend at which they want to convince the workers that NUM is the only union that can protect the interests of workers in the mines. Yet this NUM has failed the workers. There are also extremely worrying allegations about how some NUM members may have been involved in the violence against striking mineworkers in Rustenburg. Given these NUM failures, on which basis can COSATU convince workers to sell themselves out again? COSATU’s rally will also bring the ANC and SACP to put pressure on local Rustenburg communities to continue believing the lie that the ANC is the party that serves the interests of poor communities. Precisely because Mangaung is around the corner and 2014 elections is also knocking at the door.

Doing the dirty work of the ANC, COSATU will follow the logic that if you not in the alliance, you are a counterrevolutionary. Whereas, we, the PYM know that the most real counter-revolutionaries are those in the ANC and its alliance partners who sold out workers and have become capitalists. In these 18 years of so-called ‘democracy’, they have created millionaires and billionaires while we have a jobs crisis, an education crisis, a housing crisis and many other problems. Yet every five they want our votes. Through union investment companies, COSATU unions have shares in various companies: they are benefiting from narrow Black Economic Empowerment (BEE), whilst the majority of black people are poor. 

We as the PYM are not convinced that this rally is about advancing worker interests because state brutality is still the order of the day in Marikana where decisive community and worker leaders and other comrades are arrested daily. The comrades that are supposed to give testimony to the Farlam Commission of Inquiry are arrested while the commission is proceeding. We remain to be convinced that this rally will serve any other purpose other than the political rhetoric of the ANC. COSATU must stop doing this. When workers start to realise that the ANC has failed, the NUM spokes person stand on the side of bosses and do not support illegal strikes. The PYM is very clear that the ANC is representing capitalism. The attack on workers in Marikana was approved by the ANC government at the service of mine bosses. How can COSATU stand in solidarity with that? When are they going to draw the class line?

The less said about the disastrous, Stalinist, anti-worker, pro-capitalist and compromised NUM leadership and spokespersons the better. Instead of representing workers, they pointed fingers to others: attacking workers, attacking the left which acted in solidarity with the workers, and they found counter-revolutionaries under every bed. As long as we do not have independent strong leadership of trade unions in South Africa, the problems of workers will never be resolved.

As the PYM, we also condemn NUM's press statement attacking the Democratic Left Front (DLF). We say the DLF must move forward to build a mass left and working class alternative for South Africa. The PYM calls on all movements of the unemployed to unite against capitalism through a campaign against unemployment, for the right to work to be guaranteed and for a living income for the unemployed. It is very clear now that the ANC government will never change anything, and that its partner organisations are collaborating with this agenda against those who want to build an alternative in South Africa. We


Zama Timbela: 076 731 6157
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Mabhelandile Twani: 083 886 1831
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