The South African Federation of Trade Unions has noted the Star and Pretoria News stories under headlines that suggest that “SAFTU affiliates divided on setting up Workers Party for the 2019 polls”.
The truth is that following a presentation of a comprehensive report on the deteriorating material conditions of the working class in South Africa and the world, the founding SAFTU congress directed the National Executive Committee to conduct a discussion that must answer a fundamental question that this report poses: What is to be done about this deepening national crisis?
At the SAFTU founding congress, NUMSA, supported by a number of other affiliates, advanced a view that SAFTU should respond to this crisis by forming an independent Workers’ Party that will contest power so that working class communities are given a voice and don’t only march endlessly whilst unemployment, poverty, inequality and corruption continue to worsen.
The congress instructed the National Executive Committee to ensure that the discussion to answer the question is conducted in all the structures of the federation. Indeed this discussion has started and, consistent with what we seek to build SAFTU to be, the debate is conducted comradely, transparently and most importantly democratically.
A programme to conduct this debate and the issues to be canvansed has been developed. Obviously there will be different takes and different emphasis in the discussion which are absolutely necessary.
There will also be tactical differences on timing and on the nature of a Workers’ Party. These don’t signal any political or ideological division. SAFTU irons out its political and ideological stance through the adoption of the principles of the federation in the founding congress.
Once this debate is concluded in the structures of the federation, SAFTU will make further pronouncements.
Mac Chavalala, SAFTU President: 078 804 9769