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Last updated: 29 August 2016
The Press Statement by FAWU during the Press Conference following the conclusion of its National Congress and Resolutions taken therein
29 August 2016
This Press Conference is convened for the purpose of giving the public a glimpse of the Resolutions taken in the National Congress of the Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), which was held in Forever Resorts in Bela Bela (Warmbaths), South of Limpopo as from the 22nd till 25th August 2016, during a very special month, in commemoration of the contribution towards the struggles for liberation, by heroic women against oppressive, apartheid laws in 1956, some 60 years ago.
The congress was able to discuss and conclude on the below four areas of the congress business but other work from commissions is deferred to a Special and Extended National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting tentatively scheduled to take place end of November early December 2016. These ranges from the current political situations, organizational capacity-building, bargaining, benefits, organizing, socio - economic, international solidarity and service to members
We were pleased that the Congress was addressed by the former State President Kgalema Motlanthe and Zwelinzima Vavi as Keynote Speakers as well as by the Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel. All of their addresses were valuable and welcomed.
It is our belief that the commanding heights of our economy must be transformed and our long conviction to work towards achieving socialism cannot van no longer be untrusted in an alliance based formation noting the inherent class contradiction and perpetuating contestation around what should be the strategic centre of power
To this end the congress have resolved to place it at the door step of the SACP, compromised by its participation in the Cabinet and Legislature, as we believe it is, to step up and play its historic role of being the leader and the vanguard of the working class struggles.
We are opened to discussing this political posture with both the ANC and SACP as the eventuality maybe to work towards a formation of a true working class electoral party to un-apologetically take forward the working class interests.
2. COSATU Crisis and New Federation
The Congress had one but the most important discussion around COSATU and after robust debate, took Resolution to disaffiliate from COSATU having taken into account to number of factors amongst others the following factors
- The expulsion of NUMSA from COSATU, which goes against its founding principle to bring about UNITY of workers irrespective of their political beliefs, race and gender
- The changing ideological character of COSATU, into an apologetic, lame and ....
- The silence and failure, by COSATU in opposing and at times found wanting on obvious, problematic government policies which have been anti working class and neoliberal in form and shape, just to please the ANC as its ally and the ruling party
- The absence of campaigns and disappearing militant culture in advocating and implementing its resolutions and programs from previous congresses and conferences
With the above decision, the Congress further resolved to be part of on-going efforts to set up a new federation in the country. To this end, the following will be considered in that:
- Existing federations are not ideal in affiliating due to their nature and ideological posture
- We want a federation that is found on the basis of a workers-controlled and democratic organization
- A federation that will be independent
- A federation that may not be aligned to a party-political formation yet not apolitical
- A federation that will advocate and advance workers solidarity and be militant and campaigning in character
3. Unity and Cohesion
The Congress resolved that Unity and Cohesion of FAWU is sacrosanct and should be defended at all cost. To this end, rogue elements within structures, described as those used by outside commercial entities and political forces to destabilize the organization, will not be spared discipline, even if they hide behind democratic platforms.
4. Organizational Programs
5. Constitutional Amendments
6. On Policy Reviews
7. Going Forward And Conclusion
In conclusion, having noted that some of the Resolutions taken are of historic and historically unprecedented nature, we are alive to the difficult road lying ahead and have resolved to ready ourselves for this journey.
We know that a new union will be engineered by COSATU and seeds for such a union were planted even before this congress and this will not catch us by surprise and, if anything, we expect to see efforts of dislodging and destroying FAWU to intensify in the next few days, weeks, months and years.
We then resolved to go to every workplace and explain to members why we took the decision we did and how critical that such a decision be supported by them.
We acknowledge that we will be under vicious attack in the next few weeks and months and such a coordinated attack will include among others character-assassination of FAWU leaders, a rush by some other creditors with demands for payment, creation of and counter-organizing program by a rival union, destabilization program in our structures and the rest of the organization.
The post-congress dispensation will be tough and difficult but we will carry the mandate of the highest decision-making structure as a matter of principle.