The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) is a force to be reckoned with in the fight for the rights of workers.
This is according to the secretary general of the country’s newest union, Zwelinzima Vavi.He was addressing the media ahead of his speech at the Mdantsane Indoor Sports Centre yesterday where a small group of their members attended the “report-back rally”.
“We are being vindicated every day. The ANC had a policy conference for five days and it was a complete sham. They were busy debating about white monopoly capital and whether it exists or not and they were sorting out the eating queue in 2019.
“On this side we are celebrating something fabulous that (National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa) Numsa has won a major victory for workers. The court has said it is illegal for casual workers to work longer than three months,” he said.
Vavi said they were happy to be “out of unprincipled politics” and also took a jab at the SACP, which is a partner in the Tripartite Alliance with the ruling ANC and the Cosatu.
“Even if you look at what is happening in the SACP and the contradictions that are coming out of there – on one hand they say they are strengthening the alliance and on the other hand they say they want to contest elections. We can see this is all about negotiating and bargaining with the ANC, but a very expensive bargain.
“They are trying to say to the ANC, if you do not accommodate us with cabinet posts we will contest you and you are weak and you have to listen to us now.
“We are happy to be out of politics that have nothing to do with advancing the interest of the ordinary worker,” he added.
Vavi said the purpose of the report-back rally was to speak to their members about the programmes and principles of the federation. He said their leadership was travelling all over the country to reach the masses.
Now with a 700000-strong membership, Saftu wants to gain 300000 more members by the end of the year to reach a million.
“We will reach our goal of one million members by the end of December and we will continue to increase our membership until we do what we said we would do, which is to get to our target of 76% of the workforce,” said Vavi.
Saftu’s Eastern Cape convener, Mziyanda Twani, said they were unhappy with the turnout of their members but quickly attributed it to the weather. “You must also remember that federation is still new and we do not have the resources to transport members to rallies yet,” he added. — firstname.lastname@example.org