Viva NUPSAW Viva!
Viva SAFTU Viva!
Comrades, I would like first to thank the interim Provincial Office Bearers (POBs), which are the Interim Chairperson, Interim deputy Chairperson, Interim Provincial Secretary, Interim Deputy Secretary, and Provincial Treasurer as well the Regional delegate into the PEC who are before us today, because this is the people who we have asked to sit here because they are answerable to you, so when you are asking questions, they are part of the people that need to be answering the question that you have, as they are part of the highest decision making body in-between Congresses of the Provincial Congresses.
I also like to thank SAFTU for availing its interim Provincial Secretary to address us today. Thank the North West Provincial Secretary for also coming here and coming and supporting you as well. We are all learning and continuously learning from each other, so we hope to take something from this congress. I must say, from the way things have been arranged thus far, documentation and everything, and I would ask that you give yourself a round of applaud.
I wish the incoming POBs that will be elected today would do better than, much better than what we see today. If it can be better, I do not think it can be better because this is the best we have ever had.
I hear you calling yourself a communist; yes, workers need to aspire to become communist, and then you ask yourself what a communist is? Why should workers aspire to become a communist, why should workers hate capitalism, workers should hate capitalism in all its forms, in all manifestation it may appear to be.
Workers have a duty to hate capitalism, and why should you hate capitalism? Capitalism, in short, is described as the exploitation of man by man. Do you want to be exploited as workers? And that is then the exact reason you should aspire to become communist. You should aspire to become/ to have a new economic system in this country, particularly and the world over, because we have had enough of capitalism. Capitalism, as I said, you can summarise it by saying that it is the exploitation of man by man, but communism is an advanced stage of what we call socialism. Obviously, it is right there, and we are dreaming of it. It is the ideal situation/ ideal economic system but to get there, we got to pass socialism, and what is socialism? In short, socialism I’m going to say it in Sotho because it’s easier in Sotho than in any other language or Setswana. In Setswana, socialism is said to be “bojammogo” when we share whatever is available. There is no one suppressing another wanting a bigger share than the other one. Whatever is available, the country’s wealth should be shared equally among the citizens of this country. That is what socialism is.
And that is what we need to aspire. We need to achieve, and when are we going to accomplish that. Some people said in our lifetime, and some people call it radical economic transformation but the real ones. Some are just talking about this thing just for the political advances, and some are taking it seriously. When I say there is a distinction between those who take this seriously, some use it to advance their capitalist aspiration. Those people who are today screaming RET – for political expedience, it is those people who are dangerous, are using/playing with our feelings, and have to be careful. People have lied to us so many times. It’s a pity, maybe we have also not done our job as trade unions, worker organisation, as well as shop stewards, to educate our members politically, perhaps we have not done enough, and I must say as the GS that we have not done enough, we have been too shy to talk politics. Talking about politics doesn’t necessarily align you to a particular political party; talking politics to look at what/ where your aspiration should be/ best accommodated. We cannot say we are moving for radical economic transformation when you are corrupt.
Corrupt people are super capitalists because they want everything to come to them; they want every cent available even during a crisis like the Covid19. They went out and enriched themselves, even when the world has pronounced that asbestos is killing people, and funds were set aside to eliminate asbestos roofing. Some people continued to enrich themselves from that; that is what we are talking about when we say some people are using radical economic transformation for their capitalist agenda, and we have to be careful. And here are those who are deeply committed, we know we have a communist party or a party that calls itself a communist party, but they are aligned to the capitalist party. Can there be communists? Definitely, there won’t be communists if they are aligning themselves with a capitalist party. We also have to acknowledge as workers; there is always history. There are historical events, but we don’t have to leave our lives looking back a thousand times. We need to move forward; we need to take a step forward.
We are also aware that the white monopoly capital/ whites, particularly all over the country, are by nature capitalist/ by birth or whatever you call it. They are by nature capitalist/ super capitalist. They always want to exploit black people as they are currently doing, look at what is happening in the public service. The same people that you voted in and that you also, unfortunately, like I say each time, you get the opportunity to correct your situation as workers; you repeat the same mistake over and over again.
Which are those opportunities that have presented themselves, the local by-elections they present themselves as an opportunity for you to correct your situation or for workers, but what did workers do? They voted once more for a capitalist party. Once more, you say the same party has been the winner, and the rest have lost. And then we also have to be careful, as well when we say when we are talking about these parties, these are also white parties who are pretending but now they have shown you their true colours for those of you who are still following those white parties.
They have told you that Mmusi Maimane is a failed experiment, that Mmusi is a black person, they have experimented with him being a leader in a party, but they were doing an experiment. For how long are we going to be used by white parties? For how long are we to be used as an experiment? Can’t we rise beyond that period? Let’s accept that those parties, which were favoured by the international community. Indeed, they were made to win the elections made to appear as if they are the ones who have bought democracy into this country, but ask yourselves, where are the Groote Schuur minutes? Can you recall before Codesa, there were some Groote Schuur minutes and other minutes as well?
So my message today to yourselves on the political landscape to say, please, as workers, let us wake up. Some parties have indeed, this far have demonstrated their commitment to black people. Let’s follow those because, as black people, we are all oppressed, irrespective. Yes, Tito Mboweni today and his Ramaphosa is refusing to offer public servants their increases. If we work without increases forv4 years, while everything else is increasing, what does that turn us into? It turns you into a slave, but we will not allow that. I hope that public servants are ready to take the bull by the horn. There is no way we will allow Tito Mboweni to get away with this together with his ANC. We should not allow it to transform us into slaves, telling a great lie that we have been overpaid all over these years. Ramaphosa, by the way, was a former trade unionist; he was the General Secretary of NUM. He is the one who is saying workers are earning too much while he’s getting billions. We do not know how he got his billions. Myself as I am; tomorrow, when you hear that I am a billionaire or millionaire, you must ask yourself questions whose soul have I sold to get those millions.
So comrades, let us take ourselves seriously and confront this government; it doesn’t deserve our vote. There are October elections again; please let’s go out. These people who are voting for this government in and out again at every election are our relatives, our friends, our wives, our husbands, and our children, for that matter. Let us go out and sell the message that capitalism should be outlawed out of this country. Capitalism should be banned and replaced with socialism that is bojammogo; the wealth of this country should be shared equally.
We have witnessed the devastating effect of capitalism through unemployment at its highest level; I actually lost count because last time it was at 42%; I don’t know where it is today, but it’s reaching 50% of the population unemployed. But there is one thing that is good about life; God will continue to expose the evil in this country. Through this COVID, God had exposed the government that it is not caring for us, not taking us any serious because when everybody else and the world because this COVID did not only affect us here, but it affected everybody else. Everybody else in the world got introduced/ took care of the unemployed. They provided a certain amount for people to survive even when they were not working and what did our government do, they also tried to put in the TERS which I think is ending this month, the R350 which is supposed to be what people should have been receiving all along. However, not the exact amount, but the principle was for everyone who is not employed has a right to life and how you survive in life. If you have a right to live without money to buy food, will you survive?
The answer is no, that is why the government is obliged to provide for you. Those who are working, like I said, “bojammogo,” sharing the wealth of the country. Those who are paying taxes these taxes should be used to take care of the rest of us. We are still insisting both as NUPSAW and SAFTU to say we need immediate implementation of a basic income grant. The introduction of the basic income grant should be above the poverty bottom line. The bottom poverty line at the moment is R570. However, we are calling for R1500 for starters, to say instead of the R350. You can take away your R350 but replace it immediately because those people still have a right to continue to live; if you say as a government that is you providing them with R350, why were you giving them the R350 in the first place? Why do you want to withdraw it now? We must support the other working-class formations which are fighting for it. On Thursday, working-class formations presented memoranda at SASSA and the Union Building regarding the same issue, i.e., this basic income grant should be implemented. Now let me leave for the politics for some moment, although it’s definitely, I think I have said my say on politics. I continue to say that capitalism should be outlawed in this country, and bojammogo must be introduced as a matter of urgency. The only way to introduce it is through our votes, whether in local government or national government, to elect relevant parties that demonstrate that they care for black people you know them. We see them fighting at Senekal – fighting for blacks when everybody is folding their arms. We saw them fighting at Cape Town against the exclusion of black students/ child so look at such parties and see if you cannot support them.
Now back to the Union, to NUPSAW. I have already indicated that we need your support to fight this government against their decision not to give the public servants their increases for the next three years. The one matter is still in the Constitutional Court and waiting for the outcome, and the judgement has been reserved regarding resolution 1 of 2018. We had new negotiations last night, and there was still nothing on the table. They were still not prepared to budge.
But when we are embarking on this struggle, let us embark on it in a manner that will ensure maximum damage to the enemy. We should inflict maximum damage to the enemy, and who is the enemy in this instance? It is the capitalist employer; we must inflict maximum within our power or our legal rights. So we will follow all legal procedures to ensure that we are protected even during that because we know they will run to court and say some people are essential services and so on, but we will definitely like every public servant irrespective of whether he/ she to partake in whatever action should be agreed with by NUPSAW and other unions. We are progressing, and we are also wary that we have been sold year in and year out, that other COSATU unions might sell us out because they are eyeing positions in government. We are also wary about that, but we will attempt to handle the situation such that the leadership of COSATU if they so decide to appease their master within the clearance, but COSATU members are suffering. We will definitely be trying to bring our message to COSATU members if the leadership ever attempts to take a different direction. I want to acknowledge the chairperson from Northern Cape, comrade Thage, and you are acknowledged.
In the Union, we also have struggles and schemes you have heard from the State of the Province by your interim chairperson that it was not smooth sailing up to where we are. And one of the biggest enemies or viruses that continues to attack our leadership is corruption; we would really like to caution whoever will be elected that corruption in NUPSAW will never be tolerated. When you accept being elected in NUPSAW, you accept serving not to enrich yourself by creating trips and claiming S and T’s. In some instances, some even claim S and T’s alleging to be traveling using cars using taxis or sometimes hiking, for that matter. We have dealt with those that have been found, and some cases are outstanding that we are dealing with at the moment. We are not going to be apologetic when we do that because, as the leadership of NUPSAW, we have been entrusted to look after the funds of the Union. This is one of our primary tasks as a Union or as the Union’s leadership; whether you be POBs or PECs or national, your biggest task is to look after the Union’s funds. Because without the funding, the Union cannot execute some of its obligations in terms of Clause 5 of the Constitution. Without funds, the Union cannot carry out those obligations, so it is important that as leaders, you are here to serve, not to enrich yourself. Anyone who may show these unacceptable tendencies will not be tolerated. It is painful sometimes when you see people going after the head/ neck of one another merely because the other wants a straight line and the other wants to enrich themselves. I urge whoever is elected today; please serve members and no one else. You are not stooge to anybody; once you are elected, you are elected by people in this hall, representing over 2000 members in the Free State.
You may be 100 here or a hundred and something, but you represent over 2000 members of Free State, so whatever you say it represents or does represent the 2000 members. With Free State, we are proud that at least when we took from the last congress in 2016, Free State, we had to take a drastic step to get Free State to where it is today. We had to take drastic measures and said to delegates who were observers in the NEC, and we allowed you to be part of the NEC, albeit as observers, but now it looks like you are taking advantage, you are not doing anything to grow your province, and said go out and work. You should earn your seat in the NEC, and indeed, after chasing them out of the NEC, it was not only Free State along it included Mpumalanga as well. We chased them both delegates, and today we are proud that both Free State, Mpumalanga, and Northern Cape are now a fully fletched province.
I think I have said my part and will continue to emphasise that you have a duty as workers to become communist. In conclusion, that is my ending or to say that the state of communism is through transforming the country’s economic system to a socialist one, where the wealth of the country would be shared by all, not specific individuals becoming billionaires alone. Not the Motsepes alone, although Motsepe may/ set to be distributed like his pre-intercessor if you recall, just to an off-ramp. If you recall, Motsepes pre-intercessor what he did, he took money out of some bank and redistributed that money together with Snowy back to the community. Can you remember who that was? Zola Mahobe. I don’t know because we don’t know how he becomes a billionaire/millionaire. Still, at least he’s giving back those millions annually through his foundation to black communities, although politically upstairs is not good, as he still has the capitalist mentality. However, at least he’s still got that “bojammogo” in him. I wish he had joined other parties other than the party he belongs to.