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COSATU on Sugar Tax Part 1 of 3
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Campaigns  |  COSATU Press Statements

Campaign for democracy in Zimbabwe and Swaziland

02-10-08

COSATU, with unions and progressive organisations of civil society from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, have met to review the on-going solidarity campaign with the people of Zimbabwe and Swaziland.

They agreed to build on the momentum generated by the recent COSATU Conference and the march to the SACD Summit meeting in Sandton on 16 August 2008 and develop a new strategy to take forward the campaign for democracy in these two countries, with the ulti mate of building a Southern African people`s movement for justice and democracy

The meeting agreed to:

Convene a Civil Society Conference on `Zimbabwe-post-the-deal and Where to from here?` This should be held inside Zimbabwe and involve the whole SADC region to assess the situation and develop a common response on strengthening of democracy and the on-goin g transformation based on the fundamental interests of the people

Intensify the campaign for a `Week of global action on Swaziland`, including the non-handling of goods to Swaziland, to be held on 27 October to 1 November, 2008, in which trade unions should play a leading role.

Establish a joint task team from the Swazi and SA unions who will be at the centre of the boycott, owing to their strategic location in the economy. It will hold its first meeting in Johannesburg on 14 October, 2008 to concretise a clear programme for the week of action.

Actively participate in the Southern African Social Forum in Swaziland on 16-18 October 2008, to strengthen regional people`s initiatives and in solidarity with the struggling people of Swaziland, using the forum as a space for raising the international pr ofile of the Swazi struggle and as an opportunity to build and strengthen their capacity to wage a sustainable struggle for democracy and economic justice

Develop a Code of Leadership by civil society as a model for exemplary, ethical and democratic leadership in the region, particularly at state level, to ensure credibility in the political and institutional processes of the region, so the can enjoy the con fidence of the people.

Initiate a SADC transformation project to help civil society to participate in the formulation of new-look, vibrant, dynamic and inclusive SADC structures. This should allow the citizens of the region full participation, satisfactory representation and reg ular and meaningful influence in the affairs of this important regional body. It will also be a way to challenge the appointment of undemocratic leaders at the helm of strategic institutions such as the SADC Organ Troika, the failure of SADC to enforce com pliance amongst member states on existing agreements and protocols, and double standards, such as seen in the monitoring of the elections in Swaziland recently, where the SADC observer mission accepted an electoral outcome conducted in an environment of ba nned political parties and arrests of political activists. This goes together with the indecisiveness around Zimbabwe and Swaziland for such a long time. In summary, this project is about the renewal of SADC to reflect the new challenges of regional social , political and economic configuration.

Initiate a loose network of regional activists to build a regional movement for mass mobilisation, in the form of a `SADC People`s Justice Campaign`, to develop structured and sustained solidarity focus and support for democracy, workers` struggles, landle ss people`s struggles, economic justice and human rights throughout the region. This movement should be properly discussed at the coming Southern African Social Forum in Swaziland, so as to give it meaning and clarify its purpose in more concrete terms.

The coming Congress of the Southern African Trade Union Co-ordination Council in Botswana next week should be able to strengthen these initiatives, given the centrality of the trade union movement in the success of this very determined regional civil socie ty programme.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

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