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Central Exec  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU statement on the outcome of the Central Committee

17 April 2003

COSATU has just concluded its Central Committee meeting that started on Monday, 14 April 2003. The Central Committee is the second-highest structure after the Congress, and it was convened specifically to address organisational challenges.

For three days, over two hundred delegates spent hours in rigorous debates seeking to deepen our organisational gains and confronting our weaknesses. This was part of an ongoing discussion launched through the appointment of the September Commission i n the run up to the 1997 National Congress, and culminated in 2000 National Congress to position COSATU to meet challenges of the 21st century.

As indicated before, this Central Committee was organised to prepare a report to the 8th National Congress scheduled for September 2003. Only a movement with a clear vision and that continues to scan the environment, look at possible scenarios and do an organisational review; can adjust to new realities to guarantee its future. COSATU belongs to this category that does not take an ostrich approach in the face of challenges.

The objectives and outcomes of the Central Committee included:

"Developing a common understanding on the need for, and a programme of, organisational renewal. "Responding to pressing organisational challenges facing some of our unions; "Ensure that all our affiliates improve on financial management; mem bership systems; service to members; workplace strategies; recruitment; gender work; and union education.

It is our firm belief that the Central Committee has met these challenges, by adopting clear resolutions on all of the above objectives. Overall, the Central Committee has reaffirmed the need for a systematic organisational review process at affiliat e and COSATU level. A series of measures were adopted as the resolution to be soon posted in our website.

The Federation and its affiliates will take the process forward and table a progress report to the forthcoming 8th National Congress.

The Congress will take a final position on the organisational questions based on the report from the Organisational Review Commission. The Commission will receive progress reports from each affiliate and the Federation not later than July 2003. Therea fter, a report will be circulated to all our affiliates and structures in August to prepare for Congress debates on the organisation.

The Resolutions adopted at this Central Committee provides a framework within which COSATU will drive the organisational renewal process. Resolutions, adopted by the Central Committee centre around the following areas:

  • Organisational Renewal Programme;
  • State and future of the Federation;
  • Support for affiliates that urgently need assistance; and
  • Recruitment and service to members.

The Central Committee was characterised by open, frank and robust debates. We are emerging from the Central Committee with a unified commitment to building a strong, vibrant, and democratic trade union Federation. To that extent we shall spare no eff ort to address weaknesses wherever they manifest themselves.

The Central Committee also reiterated the importance of the forthcoming Growth and Development Summit as a historic moment to build national consensus on measures required to address joblessness, poverty and inequality. Although we are disappointed wi th the postponement of the Summit, we should use this reprieve to work assiduously for the success of the Summit. We call on the alliance and the mass democratic movement to use the opportunity to prepare themselves for real and innovative ideas to c hallenge the number one challenge of South Africa - unemployment.

Finally, COSATU remains opposed to the invasion of Iraq by the US and its allies. We are further worried by the bully tactics of the US and its threat against Syria. The US seems to be hell-bent on using war as a means to resolve international dispute s. All peace loving people should denounce the US war mongering and unilateralism as a threat to world peace. Sadly, the US approach may result in a renewed arm-race, which will only benefit the military- industry barons.

Patrick Craven
Acting COSATU Spokesperson
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