Cosatu urges pursuit of ‘more radical’ NDR

Staff Writer | May 21, 2019
The union federation and governing African National Congress (ANC) alliance partner says it will campaign to ‘give oxygen to the more radical National Democratic Revolution’ (NDR).

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in KwaZulu-Natal says its post-election campaign will aim to ‘radicalize the ground for the Second Phase of the Economic Transformation to give oxygen to the more radical National Democratic Revolution’.

In a statement, COSATU KZN provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize said the government had to ‘work with speed to redress the imbalances caused by the capitalist system within our society’.

The statement – headed ‘The Elections are over but Our Workers Struggle Continues’ – paid tribute to ‘all workers who have heeded the call by the Federation to go out in their numbers to defend, deepen and advance the National Democratic Revolution by voting for a resounding success for the African National Congress’.

Mkhize spelled out Cosatu’s priorities. The primary objective was for ‘our government and business … to do more to improve the livelihood of workers and South Africans at large’. 

He said ‘class differences among the formerly oppressed have grown dramatically, with a minority of black people joining the capitalist class as managers or owners, while most of our people face rising joblessness and poverty’. 

The challenge was to ‘pursue transformative policies to change the status quo of the current ruling class for the economic emancipation of the majority’.

To achieve this, the ‘urgent task for our government and the progressive left’ was to put an end to retrenchments, increase opportunities for creating ‘decent jobs’ in a labour-intensive economy, introduce legislation ‘to outlaw’ labour brokers, insourcing all outsourced services, ‘urgently attend to the incapacity of the officials in many of our municipalities’, resuscitate infrastructure ‘to address the deteriorating service delivery in our townships’, ‘decisively deal with corruption’, ‘end looting’ of workers’ pension funds, implement Universal Health Scheme, ‘end abuse’ of state-owned entities ‘by individuals who use them for self-enrichment’, end privatization of the state SOEs, and finalise the Social Security Plan. 

Mkhize said if the government wanted to ‘revive hope’ among South Africans it must ‘urgently attend to these and many other issues’.

‘Part of our campaigns as COSATU moving forward from these Elections is to radicalize the ground for the Second Phase of the Economic Transformation to give oxygen to the more Radical National Democratic Revolution,’ the statement said.

It urged the alliance to ‘consolidate and advance our promises … to the people through our manifesto’, calling on workers ‘to unite against neoliberalism and its stooges’.

The ANC won the 2019 election with 57.5% of the vote, its lowest since the advent of democracy in 1994. The IRR has argued that its continued commitment to the Soviet-inspired NDR – intended to take South Africa by incremental steps from a free market system to a socialist and then communist one – does not reflect the expectations and ambitions of ordinary South Africans. 

IRR polling has consistently shown that most South Africans believe the government’s priority should be job creation. Analysis shows that the only way to achieve this is through private sector-led economic growth, which the statist precepts of NDR can only reverse.  


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