Kagiso Mokaila, NUPSAW President keynote address to the Northern Cape Provincial Congress Launch on 21 November 2020 at Horseshoe Inn and Conference Center.
Revolutionary greetings to the National Office Bearers
Deputy General Secretary
The Northern Cape Launching Congress delegates
Sponsors and social partners
The Turkish Proverb says that the forest was shrinking, but the trees kept voting for the axe, for the axe was clever and convinced the trees that because his handle was made of wood, he was one of them. The ANC should keep quiet and not join those who are calling for an end to the retrenchments at the SABC because they contributed to its demise by cadre deployment of comrades that are incompetent and unqualified. The SOEs are dysfunctional because of this cadre deployment.
Today marks the end of a journey that some of us thought would never be realized in our trade union life.
The second if not third bi-annual NUPSAW National had given a congress resolution that all provinces should be assisted to launch their structures or PECs. Perhaps the biggest mistake that we made was not to propose firm launching dates as they would have somehow pushed us to outperform ourselves in implementing the resolution.
Comrades would agree that a resolution that is not time-bound is as useless as rhetoric. That is why it took NUPSAW so more than a decade and a half to finally launch the last remaining province, which is Northern Cape.
It is not African ubuntu and culture to blow your horns as kings but credit must go mainly to the National Office Bearers that you see here in your presence today and the National Executive Council, who against all odds believed that it can be done in their term of office by amongst others;
The infrastructure in provinces
Procurement of union vehicles and laptops for Organizers
Our affiliation to the South African Federation of Trade Unions
The employment of and never say die energy of our National Organizer
The continued capacitation of staff
And last but not least the work that has been done by the outgoing or Interim PEC of Northern Cape.
All these factors have made NUPSAW be the force to be reckoned with. So, it was not a bad idea to separate Free State and Northern Cape Provinces and thereby affecting Constitutional clause 2 (e)
Had the situation been different, this would be an achievement worth celebrating the proper way but because of the COVID 19 regulations, perhaps we might celebrate cautiously as the 13th of August was NUPSAW’s 22nd anniversary. So we are 22 years, three months, and six days old if my mathematics is correct.
Comrades, we must continue to learn from History as it is the best teacher without any doubt. It has taught us that some of the Provinces consider reaching the 1000 membership for launching as the end of their journey and thereby becoming stagnant at that number and not growing. And believe me, some of the Provinces have not been growing ever since they were launched. Those of you who will be representing this Province at the NEC would learn about this unfortunate culture. Do not fall into the same trap. On the contrary, your efforts should be doubled henceforth as the number of members determines your financial muscle and how you serve the members. It also has a bearing on the voting weights in the ultimate constitutional meetings of NUPSAW.
Some of you worked harder because you wanted to be in the Provincial leadership and now that you are there you become the gatekeepers of vibrant and fresh ideas. In certain provinces, some members call themselves Ancestors and make it very clear that NUPSAW belongs to them. None of us own this Union except the members on whose behalf and mandate we have been entrusted.
Let us not become like Parliamentarians who only come to life and start interacting with members during election campaigns and after getting to Parliament forget the voters.
Leadership is not about elections. It is about the next generation”. In other words, what kind of legacy are you going to leave behind when the baton is transferred from us to the next leadership? What will members remember for you? Are we going to be like Donald Trump who thinks that God has anointed him to be the Monarch of the U.S.A. by refusing to accept that leadership has to change hands? Ensure that you get hold of copies of the founding principles of SAFTU and promote both your union and the Federation. Attend the local SAFTU activities.
We need sober-minded and vigilant leadership and not those who would be fooled into believing that the Union revolves around them. I see that part of the launching congress is about unity. Comrades are very vigilant that the leadership does not divide the organization. There is only Northern Cape NUPSAW. We do not want to hear. Of Kimberley being treated differently from for example Kuruman, or vice versa. Distribute resources accordingly without favoring the area you come from. Embrace the so-called colored community around here as they are part of this community as shown by the provincial demographics as well as creating an organizational structure free of racism and class discrimination.
It would be expected of the leadership to hit the ground running, to act with integrity and without fear and favor, and engage in the bread and butter issues that confront our members.
You must work together for the benefit of those who elect you. Always act ethically at all material times
Those that will be elected today must therefore know that taking the leadership position it is not about power and prestige. You must be prepared to make life sacrifices like missing out on family events. If you cannot compromise all these, forget being elected. You are not yet ready to lead in this organization.
Comrades, in particular, the Office Bearers must-read. Know departmental and institutional policy documents and spent less time watching Soapies and posting about parties. That would not bode well for your image as a credible leader. There is no pain like a clueless leader who believes anything even if it does not exist coming from the employer because you have not read. As much as you tackle socio–economic issues at work, do not divorce yourselves from community issues as you are also from those communities.
Do not be fooled also by NEHAWU which purports to be fighting for Community Health Workers because they said that CHWs are not health employees until NUPSAW adopted that program to have them recognized and be on the government payroll. Re ba bits abo mabina go tsholwa.
In conclusion, Amilcar Cabral writes “We must practice revolutionary democracy in every aspect of our life. Every responsible member must have the courage of his responsibilities, exacting from others a proper respect for his work and properly respecting the work of others. Hide no lies from the masses of our people. Tell no lies. Expose lies whenever they are told. Mask no difficulties, mistakes, failures. Claim no easy victories.”
These are some of the qualities that we expect from all of you if we are to realize our dream of NUPSAW becoming the biggest and most progressive trade union in both the public and private sectors.
Good luck to the members who are going to be elected. Trust us, you are going to need it. We shall also try and ensure that the newly elected PEC is properly inducted. Please ensure that these elections are inclusive of all the Regions so that you do not start your term of office resolving problems instead of servicing members. We are here to observe and advise, not to dictate. Otherwise, we would have instructed you to limit contestation and agree on consensus in electing Provincial Office. Bearers. However, what this congress should not compromise is the inclusion of women comrades in positions as they are in the majority.
Thank you to all the comrades