Trade unions and Communist Party meet
The SA Communist Party (SACP) and the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) issued a joint statement following a meeting of the two organisations on July 26. The statement says that "many important gains for working people and the poor have been made since 1994, including progressive labour and other legislation, outlawing of racism and repression, ongoing democratisation, and the delivery of basic services to millions of our people." The meeting took place as one of a series between the ANC, SACP and COSATU. A Summit meeting of the three organisations is to be held on September 22. The Party-Trade Union meeting meeting discussed the following matters: * The current political situation and its impact on the organised working class, unemployed and the rural poor from a working class standpoint; * The state, role and political capacity of the trade union movement and the SACP; * The struggle to complete the national liberation of black people and the struggle for socialism in South Africa and internationally. The statement said that the gains made were "often overshadowed by massive job losses over the past seven years — one million in the formal sector". Official statistics show the unemployment figure has risen to 26 per cent - - 38 per cent using an expanded definition of unemployment. Through casualisation, contracting out and outsourcing bosses are further seeking to subvert our democratic social, political and economic gains. Big companies are not investing the profits produced by workers in job-creation and development. The two organisations agreed that "fundamentally, the difficulties we are encountering are a function of seeking to transform our society on the terrain of a society, and a world, still dominated by capitalism." "We could have done better", says the statement. "In particular, the 1996 adoption by government of the GEAR policy, marked a significant policy shift and, in practice, an attempt to use capitalist means to achieve the goals of our shared national democratic vision. "GEAR and the related privatisation program have failed to achieve the fundamental restructuring of our society, and in many respects these policies have taken us backwards. "We agreed that, while there are serious policy disagreements, the alliance remains united around its long term vision of a non-racial, non-sexist, united and democratic South Africa. The alliance is the only vehicle capable of achieving these objectives." The SACP and COSATU called for: * The revitalisation of their organisations, including, in particular the ANC itself. Tendencies to bureaucratisation, the dominance of state technocrats in the policy process, and organisational careerism were dangers highlighted. "We need to ensure that our formations are much more actively engaged on the ground, in the mobilisation of our mass base." * Support for the COSATU campaign to defend and build a strong, extensive public sector, including publicly-owned corporations. Both COSATU and the SACP are opposed to privatisation of publicly-owned resources. * The struggle against corruption and the abuse of public office. Our two formations will be working with the ANC to ensure that we are much more pro-active in dealing decisively with these problems. Corruption, particularly from those in public office, undermines our liberation struggle, and is essentially the plundering of public resources. * The detailed elaboration of much more effective industrial sector policies and programs — including the transformation of the financial sector. * The building of an extensive social protection net — including major land reform, the provision of social services including affordable publictransport, a basic income grant, and the transformation of existing resources, such as the Road Accident Fund. The meeting expressed support and solidarity with striking workers, including those in Eskom and in the mining sector. Further meetings are to held by the two organisations.