Corruption is eating away the heart of our democracy – Vavi

2014-10-04 14:00

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Crime and corruption is a massive problem in South Africa that needs a leader like former activist Moses Kotane, says union federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

“We still face the massive problem of crime and corruption, which is eating away at the heart of our democracy,” he said today, at the Moses Kotane memorial lecture in Mogwase, North West.

“The invasion of alien, capitalist practices into our revolutionary movement – summed up by the notion of ‘We didn’t struggle to be poor’ – is infecting the whole of our society.”

Kotane was the secretary-general of the SA Communist Party from 1939 until his death in 1978.

Vavi said leaders like Kotane were needed to “rescue” the revolution from “those who want to subvert it in order to rob the people who put their faith in them and enrich themselves”.

“Never did he imagine that this theoretical brilliance entitled him to a big salary. He remained a loyal workers’ representative and always saw the need to talk and listen to the rank and file on the ground,” he said.

“More than ever, we need to tread in the footsteps of Moses Kotane and other great leaders, in order to build a strong, fighting Cosatu.”

Vavi said the best way to follow Kotane’s example was to put secondary differences of opinion aside, reject

name-calling of opponents and “rumour-mongering” and unite behind the class struggle.

He said that South Africans should not forget the progress made.

“We must never forget just how much progress we have made – with the destruction of racist tyranny and the establishment of a constitutional democracy,” said Vavi.

Vavi said some of the progress included that 16 million people were receiving social grants compared to three million, over 3.3 million housed have been built, about 12 million households receive electricity.

“At the same time however, we should be alarmed at the problems that remain unresolved, or are even getting worse.”

He said some of the problems in the province included striking workers being shot by security guards, women workers being stripped naked and their genitals searched for alleged stolen money, and evictions of farm workers.

In South Africa and around the world there was “ruthless exploitation” of the working-class who already suffer from poverty and unemployment, said Vavi.

Vavi said half of all employed workers earn R3?000 a month or less which meant that most could not afford the basic necessities of life.

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