May International workers day rally at Alexandra stadium north of Johannesburg, the rally was attended by various branch of the ANC and various labour unions on the 1st May 2012. PICTURE: ELVIS NTOMBELA
Warren Mabona, Irvine Makuyana and Sapa
Workers have been acknowledged for their struggle over decades to improve their economic and social conditions.
President Jacob Zuma, who was addressing Cosatu’s main rally in Bloemfontein, called for unity within the ANC tripartite alliance.
Each member of the alliance needed to foster unity so that such unity would be transferred into the alliance, he said. Zuma said there were those who were working against them, so that there was no unity in the alliance.
The ANC yesterday heaped praise on workers for the role they played in the liberation of South Africa and the development of the country’s economy.
The ruling party said South African workers had distinguished themselves within the 100 years of its existence as an important partner in the struggle for liberation and development.
“Their progressive and revolutionary outlook has been a key in defining the parameters and content of our struggle,” said the ANC in a statement.
“They named trade unionists such as Clements Kadalie, Vuyisile Mini, Elijah Barayi and Chris Dlamini as the most advanced people of our revolutionaries.”
Cosatu called for the amendment of the Protection of State Information Bill to protect whistle-blowers who wanted to raise the alarm on corruption.
Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said one of the federation’s concerns about the bill was that whistle-blowers could be silenced by finding that the evidence of corruption they had uncovered had been made secret.
“The bill should be amended so that exposing information about corruption, crime, misuse of public funds cannot be a criminal offence,” Craven said.
DA leader Helen Zille toldparty members in Midvaal, Gauteng, that trade union federation Cosatu was a stumbling block in improving the conditions of the unemployed.
Zille took a swipe at Cosatu saying it was working against the interests of the unemployed and that everyone should come together to defeat unemployment.
Speaking on Metro FM, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said South Africa needed to review the land ownership policy.
He said the largest portion of land was still in the hands of whites and the government needed to urgently intervene to address this.
Dlamini, who had earlier addressed the main rally in Bloemfontein, also slammed the black economic empowerment policy saying it only benefitted a few people. He described BEE as “a sugar-coated exercise” that had not developed many people.
South Africa faced challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty, and the government had a responsibility to tackle these factors, said Dlamini.
National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni told a rally in Cape Town that unemployment remained a major challenge.
“Unemployment removes your dignity. Unemployment discriminates against you as you have no access to your needs. There are those who have given up on (finding) employment. We are talking of more than 8 million people who are unemployed,” said Baleni.
The SACP called on South Africans to unite against e-tolling and avoid the issue being hijacked by the DA, AfriForum and Automobile Association.
IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi, speaking in Nongoma, said although the country was faced with unemployment, those who were working needed to value their work.
Buks Mahlangu, spokesperson for Cope, called on South Africans to celebrate Workers’ Day since it was for all the people, including the unemployed.