Final Resolution on the Alliance Programme

Adopted by COSATU Special Congress

  1. The Alliance emerged from the elections more united and committed to accelerating social transformation. The decisive election victory and the diminishing strength of the rightwing forces has opened the space to vigorously pursue our transformation agenda. The alliance needs a concrete programme to realise this broad objective of accelerating social transformation.
  2. The ANC manifesto provides the basis to elaborate a programme that should be implemented by government over the next five years. In many respects, the manifesto represents the traditional progressive tradition of the ANC and its alliance partners. It correctly, emphasise the need to accelerate social change to address the legacy of apartheid manifest in the massive inequalities between rich and poor, the high rate of unemployment and poverty`; and the massive service backlog. There are clear commitments in the manifesto to address to the `social deficit` and to launch our economy on a new growth path that is employment generating. The biggest challenge confronting the alliance is to translate the manifesto into a clear implementable programme and a strategy to drive such a programme.
  3. In elaborating the manifesto into an implementable programme, we must be guided by the RDP. We are not attempting to rewrite the RDP, but to locate it within the current period of governance. In developing the programme we need to identify areas where there is consensus within the Alliance and areas of disagreement. An integrated strategy to take forward areas of agreement and to address areas of disagreement should then unfold.
  4. The inaugural Central Committee adopted a wide range of resolutions, which must be fed into the alliance programme. Congress endorses the Central Committee Resolutions as COSATU`s socio-economic policy.
  5. The Alliance programme must comprise of two components, a five-year programme of governance and a programme to build our organisational structures. This should be geared towards ensuring that the alliance is in the driving seat of governance with a clear programme to advance our objectives. More importantly, we need to sustain the mass mobilisation unleashed by the election campaign. We therefore see the organisation question and the governance programme as inter-linked and mutually reinforcing.
  6. There is a need for political agreement and commitment in the alliance to elaborating the programme. The alliance summit should agree on a process, including timeframes to developing the programme. Further, we must agree on mechanisms to ensure that the programme is indeed translated into government programmes, which will then filter to other state organs. The alliance need to establish institutions and systems to ensure accountability by government, to monitor and evaluate the progress made in implementing the programme and to intervene whenever problems arise. An urgent Alliance meeting should be convene to discuss the alliance programme.
  7. Congress endorse the following as constituting the alliance programme:
    • Transformation of the State;
    • Building the Economy and Creating Jobs;
    • Labour Market Transformation;
    • Social Transformation; and
    • Building Organisation, particularly a strategy to co-ordinate the alliance structures and programme.
  8. The CC Resolution should provide a basis for negotiating an alliance five-year programme. The following must be read with the CC Resolution.

1.       Congress reaffirms the CC`s vision on the need for an active interventionist developmental state biased towards the working class. The state needs to play an active role in the economy and society.

2.       We reject the notion of a `minimalist` state whose essential role is to create a favourable environment for the private sector. We must engage the narrow approach to transforming the state into a `lean and mean` machine. This strategy equates transformation with downsizing the state through inter alia cutting back on public service personnel, privatising state owned enterprises and outsourcing so-called non-core activities.

3.       We need an approach to deal with the outcome of the audit process in the public service as well as the proposal for the Public Sector Job Summit. In this vein, the recommendations of the public sector workshop forms the basis of a strategy to respond to these questions. Our overall objective is to emerge with a National Framework Agreement II on Restructuring the Public Service as adopted by the Presidential Job Summit. The Framework Agreement should be underpinned by the following:

§  Developing an optimal size of the public service informed by our developmental objectives, rather than a narrow budget-driven process.

§  The need for a common approach on the role of the state in creating both direct and indirect jobs. Linked to this is the need for alternative to retrenchments. Redeployment and retraining based on the results of the audit process should be pursued. In addition, the creation of new employment especially in areas where there are shortages of personnel should be part of our overall strategy.

§  Where it is not feasible to redeploy staff within the public sector, a social plan must be put in place. The objective of the plan should be to redirect workers to other sector of the economy, through among others retraining and re-skilling.

§  Developing a common understanding to investment in the public sector to include both capital and human capital investment, rather than the narrow approach to juxtapose consumption and capital expenditure.

§  A strategy to transform public sector service delivery, prioritising the rolling of services to historically under-served communities consistent with the RDP.

§  A clear plan to deal with collective bargaining in the public service to deal with current weaknesses.

§  A common public approach to avoid sending conflicting signals which end up demoralising public servants.

§  The necessity of introducing legislation to give effect to the National Framework Agreement.

§  The Public Sector Job Summit should be convened as soon as possible.

4.       The NFA was an innovative attempt to deal with the restructuring of state owned enterprises. In its implementation there were a number of problems including a one-sided approach to restructuring, weak enforceability and poor co-ordination in our ranks. Government has indicated its willingness to re-negotiate the NFA and also unfolded a number of restructuring plans. We are committed to renegotiating the NFA guided by