ANC national chairperson Gwede Mantashe has told workers in Limpopo to mobilise vulnerable members of the working class to fight and ensure the minimum wage is not turned into a living wage.
This comes as the party’s secretary general Ace Magashule used the same occasion in Gauteng to invoke the memories of the victims of the Marikana massacre, saying the murders of 34 mineworkers by the police were the most fateful day since the dawn of democracy in 1994.
Speaking at Mahwelereng Stadium in Mokopane, Mantashe said unions had to mobilise farm workers, domestic workers and others to fight for their rights.
“That is what we should be protecting. That is what we should be giving solidarity to. Then those workers, comrades, must be organised into unions so that that minimum wage cannot be taken up to become a living wage,” Mantashe said.
The Limpopo Cosatu May Day celebration was preceded by protests outside the stadium in Mahwelereng Township, Mokopane, about 6o km south of Polokwane.
It was attended by tripartite alliance leaders including Limpopo Premier Stan Mathabatha, Cosatu first deputy president Tyotyo James and ANC national executive committee member Thoko Didiza, amongst others.
At the Gauteng leg of Cosatu’s May Day celebrations, Magashule used his speech to invoke the spirits of the victims of the Marikana massacre as well as to remind the tripartite alliance of the ANC’s 54th national conference resolutions on radical economic transformation, especially the land expropriation without compensation policy.
“On this day, we remember the memories of our workers who were killed at Marikana. The event was indeed the most fateful after our historic democratic breakthrough. We urge our government to work closely with the families of the deceased, communities and stakeholders to bring closure to the fateful memories of this event. The ANC is indeed committed to make sure that we find solutions to the problems facing many of our workers across the country,” Magashule said.
“The conference took revolutionary resolutions to appropriate land without compensation, to nationalise the Reserve Bank, and ensure that the majority of our people, black people in general and the Africans in particular, become part of the ownership of the commanding heights of our economy.”
Organisations such as Andile Mngxitama’s Black First Land First (BLF) and Julius Malema’s EFF have blamed President Cyril Ramaphosa for the Marikana massacre.
They claimed he had used his influence in the ANC to get the police to kill striking mine workers to protect his business interests as then Lonmin non-executive director, an allegation Ramaphosa has repeatedly dismissed as baseless.
Magashule reiterated that ANC unity was the “only pre-condition” for the success of the struggle radical economic transformation.
“In this instance, the unity of our revolutionary alliance is sacrosanct. The unity of our alliance is a barometer for the attainment of the strategic objectives of our national democratic revolution.”
In Kwazulu-Natal, ANC deputy president David “DD” Mabuza told workers gathered at the Curries Fountain Sports Ground in Durban that the ANC was committed to the renewal of the party, as well the fight against corruption and the manipulation of party processes.
“We must empower members to stamp out gatekeeping, buying of votes and other forms of undemocratic practices in our structures. As the ANC leadership, we are adamant that our structures remain open to all who subscribe to the values and principles of the movement,” Mabuza said.
“One of the most important decisions that the ANC took during the 54th Conference is to intensify our programmes and actions aimed at dealing with corruption. We are embarking on a targeted programme to strengthen our understanding of ANC values, ethics and morality as part of the programme of organisational renewal.”
He said ANC deployees have been instructed “to improve state capacity to successfully investigate and prosecute corruption and account for any failure to do so. The people of South Africa are seeing the impact of this renewed commitment to stamping out corruption.”
Mabuza said the ruling party was working towards unity in the wake of an undeniable “period of disunity and strife” that preceded that Nasrec conference held in December last year.
“We are undergoing a process of painstakingly rebuilding the unity of our movement around the objectives of putting in place a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.”