Cosatu admits criticising government
By Janice Roberts
Johannesburg - The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) admits that it has been critical of the ANC-led government.
In a letter on Monday to workers and poor communities explaining why Cosatu was asking them to vote for the African National Congress (ANC), the union federation said "many" would have heard its leaders "raising concerns with the government and the ANC.
"Yes, it is Cosatu that has been critical and urging government to do more about the crisis of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
"Yes it is Cosatu that has marched against corruption, exposed corrupt individuals and demanded that government must take stronger action against those stealing resources."
Cosatu added that, together with working-class communities, it had to continue to put government under pressure to do more.
However, the union federation "had not forgotten" that apartheid took 40 years and colonialism took more than 300 years to remove.
"It will require a massive national effort, involving all of us, to reverse that legacy of colonialism, exploitation, and oppression."
Cosatu was aware that "some among us" were extremely disappointed by the failures of this and that department and even individual leaders of the government.
"We know all these problems, including the unfair deductions of workers' salaries in the Eastern Cape.
"We are aware of many other challenges, including in some cases the shenanigans that have sidelined good men and women in favour of powerful factions that have appointed themselves as gatekeepers, including in some instances in the selection of local government councillors.
"However we must continue to fight the battle for accountability and democracy, in our organisations and in the state."
Cosatu said that boycotting elections and "worse of all voting for a party whose policies seek to reinforce the power and control of a wealthy and racist minority in society would be a huge mistake.
It would be a "nightmare" to allow the Democratic Alliance (DA) government to increase its power, "not because its leader is white or a woman", but because of its pro-big business and pro-rich and anti-poor and anti-worker policies.
"The struggles to build a new and better SA cannot be led by those who benefited from inequalities, poverty and our oppression, and continue to pursue policies to entrench these injustices," Cosatu added.
While the ANC had made mistakes and some individuals had betrayed its historic mission, "we have a far greater chance of correcting ANC mistakes than we have of correcting the DA's anti-workers and pro-big business policies."