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9TH NATIONAL CONGRESS Declaration

We; the delegates gathered at this watershed Congress of our Union; declare that:

  1. Our 9th National Congress has been the biggest Congress in the history of our Union. 308 voting delegates representing 147 488 members from all corners of our country attended this congress;
  2. Congress was convened under the theme “Eradicate Poverty and Inequality, Deepen Democracy and Build Strong Organisation to Advance the Decent Work Agenda”;
  3. We are mindful of the challenges facing the Union in addressing critical problems confronting members in some of the most vulnerable sectors of the South African economy;
  4. This Congress was convened in the post-Polokwane Conference period which has ushered in a new era in the political climate of our Alliance and the country. The political climate is now more favourable for waging a radical National Democratic Revolution which seeks to address three interrelated antagonistic contradictions of race, class and Gender;
  5. Congress was also convened in the context of a severe crisis of the capitalist system and a capitalist offensive on the living standards of workers and the poor. Such offensive includes but is not limited to the following hardships:
  1. a.    The most significant crisis of the capitalist system in a century;
  2. b.    Sky-rocketing food prices which had further affected the buying power of workers and the poor;
  3. c.     An energy crisis which has been characterised by load shedding and rising costs of fuel and electricity;
  4. The ever-rising interest rates and the rate of inflation.
  5. e.    The systematic erosion of worker rights in the sector globally, through the pursuit of the Walmartisation philosophy which seeks to secure a Union free environment at all costs. The current heroic strike by thousands of Union members within Woolworths is a direct response to this philosophy which has been embraced by Woolworths and other Companies within the retail sector; 
  1. Congress is also held in the context of the crisis in the World Financial System. A crisis which demonstrates the irrationality of capitalism. This crisis also demonstrates the hypocrasy of market fundamentalists who now rush to bail out big banks instead of, as they claim, ‘to let the market determine and resolve all crises’. In response the global capitalists now offer ‘socialism for the rich’ to be paid for by the working class. This crisis confirms that capitalism is a crisis ridden system hence the need to pursue the struggle for Socialism, the only rational system which will put an end to exploitation of one by another, and is the only lasting solution to problems of poverty and other social ills.
  1. At a national political level, Congress was held in the midst of the latest opportunistic reaction of the protagonists of the 1996 Class Project represented, in the main, by those who could not secure re-election at the Polokwane Conference of the African National Congress. We note that these comrades who now present themselves as born again democrats were responsible for demobilizing the base of the African National Congress, the muzzling of Alliance Partners as well as suppression of inner party democracy, into elitist, paternalist and patronage centralism with subtle abuse of state organs and resources to marginalise and vilify comrades opposed to such foreign tendencies to the Movement’s traditions.

Congress deliberations were preceded by Local Launches in all towns and Cities within the Republic of South Africa. This was consistent with one of the objectives of our Medium Term Vision which emphasises Worker Control and grassroots activism. These Local launches facilitated the formulation of regional mandates to this Supreme Governing Body of the Union.

Congress deliberations were guided by the Secretariat report and the Treasurer’s report as the primary documents. Congress deliberations were also enriched by addresses by;

  1. The President of the Union whose address set the tone for robust yet comradely debates;
  2. The President of COSATU whose input contributed a great deal in locating our Supreme Soviet in its broader context;
  3. A member of the Poliburo and the Central Committee of the SACP who located recent developments in the context of our overall struggle against Capital;
  4. The Secretary General of the African National Congress who briefed delegates about recent developments in the People’s Movement;
  5. A representative of UNI who emphasised the need for international solidarity in the present context.

Delegates acknowledged both advances and setbacks during the previous congress period and specifically assessed the state of organisation and also located its deliberations in the broader political, socio-economic and international context.

Congress accordingly declares that:

(a)   Workers and the poor cannot take collective punishment for the blunders of the 1996 Class Project since this Class Project has benefited the rich;

(b)  The Union offers its unconditional defence of the democratic outcome of the Polokwane Conference, including the leadership collective that was elected at this conference and in this regard rejects and distances itself from the splinter group driven by Lekota and Shilowa. This Congress further resolved not to legitimise activities of this splinter group and call on all our members not to respond to the so-called National Convention initiated by Lekota and others;

(c)  This Congress further calls upon all its members and supporters to register for the 2009 general elections and vote for the African National Congress under the leadership of Jacob Zuma and actively campaign for an ANC victory in the coming election;

(d)  This Congress believes that matters of service delivery, job creation, decent work and education should remain central pillars of the programme of the African National Congress over the next five years;

(e)  This Congress also believes that the challenge of effectively organising workers in our sector remains the core of our work and in carrying out this we will be able to effectively realise our political objectives. In this context we have resolved to maintain the target of 265 000 members by the 10th National Congress in 2011;

(f)  This Congress declare that “An Injury To One, Is An To All!’ still remain our clarion call on our members and supporters not to cross a picket-line of workers on strike;

(g)  Congress directs all Union structures to vigorously pursue the Campaign to advance the Decent Work Agenda and in that context aggressively advance the Campaign for Centralised Bargaining and the Living Wage Campaign;

(h) Union structures should drive a political campaign to ensure that the SACCAWU National Provident Fund is returned to the control of its members, the workers;

(i)  Congress also directs structures to systematical conduct the Organisational Review process to specifically address the following areas:

  1. Build Strong Organisation on the Shopfloor and at Local Level;
  2. Ensuring effective Staff and Leadership Development as means of improving service delivery within the Union;

(j)  Union structures are also directed to take concrete measures aimed at strengthening international worker solidarity and this should include negotiation of Global Framework Agreements in various Multinational Corporations as well as strengthening existing Bilaterals with Fraternal Unions in other parts of the globe;

(k)  Union structures are also directed to develop programmes aimed at ensuring an immediate end to the continued persecution of the ANC President and this includes campaigning to ensure that charges are not re-instated. Concrete programmes will accordingly be developed through active membership participation.

We accordingly commit ourselves to strive; without reservation; to realise our resolutions and vision to further our struggle to end all attacks and exploitation of workers.