COSATU Today 7 October 2009

Skip to first unread message

Patrick Craven

Oct 7, 2009, 6:12:52 AM10/7/09




Subscribe at:

COSATU Daily News



Published by the Congress of South African Trade Unions


1 Leyds Street, Braamfontein


Tel.    011 339 4911

Fax.   086 603 9667


COSATU’s Spokesperson is: Patrick Craven


To receive COSATU’s media releases direct, subscribe at:



Subscribe to ANC Today


Join the ANC Facebook Group



Our side of the story

Wednesday 7 October 2009





1 Workers


1.1 Memorandum on Labour Broking, 7 October 2009

1.2 COSATU Pickets for Wednesday 07 October 2009

1.3 Numsa joins millions to mark the World Day for Decent Work

1.4 COSATU North West march against labour brokers

1.5 COSATU North West makes submission on labour broking to the Public hearing

1.6 Alliance calls for outlawing of labour brokers

1.7 SACTWU suspends wage strike in Botshabelo

1.8 Cosatu rejects threat from Premier Hellen Zille


2 South Africa

2.1 SADTU  reasserts itself to lead education transformation

2.2 SADTU set to bring back the love of sports in schools

2.3 NEHAWU concern at the tabling of the green paper on national strategic planning


3. International

3.1 GUFs Support Thai Workers: Permanent Jobs First, Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98


4. Letters

4.1 Labour brokers...... Trading our People away

4.2 Workers are like lost souls under labour brokers

4.3 Employers refuse workers to participate on the national strike on labour brokers

4.4 The problem with this country (Swaziland)

4.5 Guinea massacre




1 Workers


1.1 Memorandum on Labour Broking, 7 October 2009

The Congress of South African Trade Unions is today, 7 October 2009, joining workers in more than 30 countries all over the world to mark the World Day for Decent Work, organised by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

Here in South Africa the focus will be on Labour Broking, which COSATU has vowed to see outlawed for the reasons outlined below..

Labour brokers are the main drivers of the casualisation of labour. Their practices are the absolute opposite of decent work. They have driven down workers’ wages and conditions of employment. They do not create any jobs but sponge off the labour of others and replace secure jobs with temporary and casual forms of employment.

COSATU totally agrees with Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana’s description of labour broking as "a form of human trafficking, and an extreme form of free market capitalism which reduces workers to commodities that can be traded for profit as if they were meat or vegetables. The agenda of labour brokers is pro-employer and anti-trade unionism. Labour brokers are anti-trade union because they constantly move workers around from one place to another often with no access to union officials, with no possibility of stop order deduction for union subscriptions".

These companies ‘sell’ the labour of workers to the highest bidder and then pay them the lowest possible wage, often in cash with no deductions for tax or UIF, let alone any benefits. COSATU agrees with the Minister that “labour brokers are not doing our workers a service. People who are employed by labour brokers have no pensions, no benefits – in the end they are just dumped”.

Legislation clearly states that the ‘employer’ is whoever actually pays the workers’ wages, i.e. the broker, who is thus obliged to comply with all an employer’s statutory obligations to the workers. Often in practice, however, the broker and the company to which they supply the workers, each try to dodge their responsibility to contribute to UIF, provident funds, medical aids, health and safety compliance, skills development, etc by claiming that it is the other’s responsibility.

Labour broker are also basically anti-trade union. Because ‘their’ workers are constantly being moved around from one workplace to another for short periods, often with no access to union officials or the possibility of stop-order deductions for union subs, they find it very hard to join a union or to remain as members. Labour brokers are also frequently ‘scab brokers’ and strike-breakers.

COSATU vehemently rejects the call by the unprincipled alliance of COPE, the DA and Solidarity that labour broking can be dealt with by simply better regulation. It is an industry that exists precisely so that client companies can dodge the existing labour laws and regulations, and hand over responsibility for the fate of their workers to an outside company – the labour broker. If the industry wanted to regulate itself, as it requests, why has it not done so already? Because their whole reason for existence is to promote an unregulated labour market.

COSATU welcomes the public hearings taking place on the future of labour broking, in which it is participating to the full. We look forward to Parliament and Government finally bring an end to labour broking and all other forms of casualisation. All workers must have one clearly identifiable employer who is legally responsible for ensuring that they all receive all the benefits and protection they are entitled to under our constitution and labour laws, including the right to join and remain a member of a trade union

1.2 COSATU Pickets for Wednesday 07 October 2009





The Gauteng programme began on Monday 05 October and has been building up to the International Day of Action for Decent Work and calling on government to ban Labour Brokers on 07 October

Contact persons: Sello Peege 072 592 3924 & Joel Sindane (012) 323 1409/79. Pickets will take place at the following:  


Elandsfontein – Formscaff                                                                                12:00 to 13:00


Elandsfontein – Robor Pipe Service                                                                   12:00 to 12:30


Isando – Petpark                                                                                               12:00 to 13:00


Jetpark – Bell Equipment                                                                                   12:00 to 12:30


Meadowdale – Midas Group                                                                               12:00 to 13:00


Centurion – UTI Sun Courriers                                                                          06:30 to 07:00


Pretoria West – Biddulphs International                                                               07:00 to 08:00


Germiston - Council Chambers (Cnr Cross and President Streets)                       15:30 to 17:00  

(Public Hearings will be held starting from 17:00)


Contact person: Dumisani Dakile 082 727 1422


Eastern Cape:


Targeting Chambers of Business and DOL in East London, Umthatha, Port Elizabeth and Queenstown by demonstrations and pickets. All demonstrations will be preceded by Shop Stewards Counclis. All other locals will hold workplace pickets on Wednesday 07 October.


Aim: To highlight the plight of the workers who are under Labour Brokers. To promote solidarity among the workers across all sectors. To inculcate a sense of belonging to COSATU.


East London:- Chamber of Business Offices, St. Georges Street                         12:00 to 14:30

(Contact Person: H.W. Ntsangani 083 314 8573)


Umthatha: Chamber of Business, ECDC Building, York Rd                                 10:00 to 13:00

(Contact Person: Ndzekeni 082 707 2098)


Port Elizabeth: Vuyisile Mini Square, Govan Mbeki Ave                                      12:00 to 15:00

(Contact Person: Gerald Fundani 079 490 1450)


Queenstown – Department of Labour, Govan Mbeki Ave                                       12:00 to 15:30

(Contact Person: Bonke Mfenqe 084 252 1914)


North West:

Targeting mines, farms, public sector and retail stores, focusing on labour brokers, dismissed workers with pickets during lunch hour and tea breaks and mini marches targeting DOLs.

06 October Public Hearings – Orkney, Vaal Reef, Shaft No 1 @ 16:00

Contact Person:  Solly Phetoe 082 304 4055


07 October


Klerksdorp – March from Provincial Office to DOL                                              12:00 to 14:00

(Focus Farm workers and Retail)

Contact Person: Sizwe 072 868 0286


Madibeng – March from NUMSA Local office to DOL                                          12:00 to 14:00

 (Focus Farm workers and Retail)

Contact Person:Jerry 082 468 8316


Mafikeng – March from Mega City to DOL                                                          12:00 to 14:00

(Focus on Public Sector)

Contact Person: Job 082 463 1840


Vryburg – March from   NEHAWU Regional Office to DOL                                  12:00 to 14:00

(Focus Retail and Public Sector)

Contact Person: Alfred 082 596 6693


Northern Cape:

Lunch hour pickets and demonstrations at Department of Labour offices in the Regions. Other locals will picket at Department of Justice offices. All pickets will take place between 13:00 and 14:00.


Kimberley at the Department of Labour in Bultfontein Road.

Contact: Rantia Mc Gulty @ 076 557 0363


Upington at the Department of Labour in Schruder Street.

Contact: Barry Mothupi @ 072 887 7628


Kakamas at the Department of Water Affairs in Oosthuizen Street.

Contact: Marius Louw @ 079 621 8310 


Springbok at the Department of Labour in Voortrekker Street.

Contact Adel Rooi @ 082 261 3421


Calvinia at the  Department of Labour in Dorp Street.

Contact Jacques Cupido @ 072 064 4987


Prieska at the Department of Justice in Steward Street.

Contact Sandra Matiti @ 084 610 5638


Free State:


Local                      Action                                     Time                    Venue

Welkom                  Picketing and demonstration      11H30 – 14H00     Department of Labour, 53 Mooi Street, Welkom


Qwaqwa                 Picketing and demonstration      11H30 – 14H00     Department of Labour, Mampoi Street, Phuthaditjhaba


Bethlehem             Picketing and demonstration      11H30 – 14H00     Department of Labour, 37 Louw Street, Bethlehem


Ficksburg               Picketing and demonstration      11H30 – 14H00     Department of Labour, Ficksburg


Botshabelo            Picketing and demonstration      12H00 – 14H00     Department of Labour, Reahola Complex, Botshabelo


Harrismith              Picketing and demonstration      11H30 – 14H00     Department of Labour, 42 Stuart Street, Harrismith


Parys                     Picketing and demonstration      11H30 – 14H00     Department of Labour, Middle Street, Parys


Senekal                  Picketing and demonstrations     12H00 – 14H00     Municipality offices, Van Riebeck Street, Senekal


Western Cape:

Demonstrations in the form of pickets will be held in the City of Cape Town on Wednesday 07 October and all other locals will have work place pickets between 12:00 and 13:30


Epping – Bofor Circle, from Monviso Factory to Donaldson (All affiliates)

Contact Person: Clement Herandien 082 764 9573


Salt River – Victoria Road,  from House of Monatic to Queens Park  (Sactwu, Numsa, Ceppawu)

Contact Pesron: Sheila van Rensburg 082 7112 563                


Cape Town - Wale Street, In front of Legislature, between Queen Victoria & Long Street on sidewalk only (Nehawu, Satawu, Saccawu, Fawu)

Contact Person: Shaun Wildschutte 072 232 2805


KwaZulu Natal:


Newcastle Areas

Accerlo Mittal & CDC Dorbly Contact Person: Rueben Mdlalose 076 381 6191


Ladysmith Area

Dunlop Contact Person: Themba Ngubani 072 713 6221


PM Burg Area

Cousin Steel, MacDonald Steel, Shurlok, Trotec Engineering, Alumico, Multi-Metal, Paragon Steel & Prostec Contact Person:  Fana Dlamini 073 407 5384


Pinetown Area

Federal Mogul, Steel Bank, Canopy workshop, Man Truck and Bus, Man Truck Workshop & SA Truck body Contact Person: Vusi Cibane 073 536 1223


Ethekwini Area - UEC Technologies, PFK, Umngeni Iron Works, Conlog, Serco Industries, Non-Ferrous & Dunlop tyres Contact Person: Vukani Mthethwa 083 990 7004


Isipingo Area - Rheem SA, L & J Tools, Non-Ferrous, Aunde SA, Toyota Boshuku, Federal Mogul, Fraser and Chalmers, Technique Manufacturing & Sews SA Contact Person: Sbongiseni Myeza 083 345 9221


Isithebe Area - Avenue Plastics, ITB Manufacturing, Wheel pool, Richards Bay Local, Bayside Aluminium, Hillside Aluminium, Bell & Duys Contact Person:  Johnson Mkhize 083 568 4040






Company / Institution


Contact Person

Elias Motswaledi


Spar Groblersdal


Tshepho Matenche: 082 963 1371


Meat Spot – Groblersdal



Tony Stone World – Marble Hall


Jane Furse




Melvin Lekgau:

082 809 3872



Kelly Metro Labour Brokers – Burgersfort


Ernest Maleka:

073 226 2566


Supa Save next to Maphutadichaba



SACCAWU General Meeting 


13h00 - 14h00

City Sebelebele:

083 406 6458

LEC Meeting with Alliance structures



March to Aventura (Target: Volerem)

Cdes to meet at Lethlabile

10 October




Labour Broker at Nyala Street next to Traffic Department


Sammy Sekgobela:

078 965 7773


Caivin Ngobeni and Ackson Malatjie Street next to Palamine Club


























Hosting union

Targeted workplace


Contact Person

Street names


Lunch hour pickets


Dept of Labour Witbank

12h00 – 13h00

Given Thabethe


CNR Beatty Ave & Hofmeyer street, Witbank


Lunch hour pickets


Dept of Labour Ermelo

12h00 -13h00

Mzwakhe Mathe


CNR De- Jager & Joubert Street



Lunch hour pickets


Govt Complex Nelspruit

13h00 – 14h00

Sbusiso Lekhuleni


Freedom Square Legislature, NST GVT Complex


Lunch hour pickets


Gvt Complex KwaMhlanga

13h00 – 14h00

Bafana Masango


Solomon Mahlangu Drive, K/Mhlanga GVT Complex – Open Space


Lunch hour pickets


Checkers, Saveways Witbank

13h00 -14h00

Godfrey Talana


Mandela Street


Crescent Centre, Witbank


Lunch hour pickets



Checkers Hazyview

13h00 -14h00

Shadrack Nkambule


Simunye Shopping Complex Hazyview


Lunch hour pickets


Metro Cash & Carry Burgersfort

13h00 – 14h00


Maxwell Malatjie


Burgersfort Lydenburg Main Road, Lodium Street

Shop No 3 next to Hendrick panelbeaters


Lunch hour pickets



Khutala Colliery

13h00 – 14h00

Maxwell Vuma


Kendal Power Station – Balmoral to Khutala Colliery


Lunch hour



Meps electrical, MMC, Delta EMD, Xstrata Lydenburg, Xstrata Lion, ASA Metals, Assmang Chrome, Reinforce

13h00 – 14h00

Enock Nhlapho




Lunch hour


Middelburg Area

Thos Begbie,

Mapochs Mine,


Columbus Steel

13h00 – 14h00

Tau Sootho




Tswelopele Streeet, M’brg

Entrace R55 road to Steelpoort

Old Hendrina Road, Middelburg


Lunch hour


Witbank Area

Highveld Steel,

 Rand Carbide,




13h00 – 14h00

Richard Magolego


Cecilia Mpofu 0739064315



Old Pretoria Road – WTB

Walter Sisulu Street

Clewer Road – Highveld  Steel

Noble Road – Ferrobank

Schoeland drive - Ferrobank


Lunch hour


Secunda Area




13h00 – 14h00

Mbango Siyenga




Sasol premises







1.3 Numsa joins millions to mark the World Day for Decent Work


Castro Ngobese, NUMSA’s National Spokesperson 06 October 2009


The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and other Unions affiliated to the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) will be joining millions of other workers across the world to mark the World Day for Decent Work – 07 October 2009.


Tomorrow Wednesday 7 October 2009, Numsa members and other affiliated Cosatu unions members will be having a range of activities to demand the total banning of labour brokers. These mass activities coincide with the ongoing parliamentary public hearings on the future role of labour brokers in our country.


In these activities, Numsa members will be joined by the unemployed and the youth of our country. They will join these activities en masse as part of flexing our muscles and exerting pressure to parliament to ban labour brokers and advance a revolutionary programme towards the creation of decent work for all.


The details of the pickets and demonstrations are as follows:



Town / City


Contact Person

Western Cape

Cape Town, Wale Street

All Cosatu

Cde Fred Petersen, Regional Secretary @ 083 561 1356


Salt River, Victoria Street




Epping, Bofors Circle








Formscaff, Elandsfontein, Kempton Park


Cde Sizwe Dlamini, Regional Secretary @ 083 759 3123


Robor Pipe Service, Elandsfontein, Kempton Park




Petpak, Isando, Kempton Park




Bell Equipment, JetPark, Kempton Park




Midas Group, Meadowdale, Kempton Park




DSI, Elandsfontein, Kempton Park



Free State

Heneque, Srikkie Van Krayenburg Street, Bloemfontein


Cde Elias Mashiloane, Regional Secretary @ 084 032 8371


Southern Cross, Nuffield Street, Bloemfontein








Meps Electrical, Nelspruit; MMC, Nelspruit; Delta EMD, Nelspruit; XStrata Lion, Nelspruit; XStrata Lydenburg, Nelspruit; ASA Metals, Nelspruit; Assmang Chrome, Nelspruit; Reinforcing Steel and Construction, Nelspruit


Cde Eric Linda @ 083 626 6358


Thos Begbie, Middelburg; Mapochs Mine, Middelburg; MFC, Middelburg; Colombus Steel, Middelburg




Highveld Steel, Witbank; Rand Carbide, Witbank; Transalloys, Witbank; Vanchem, Witbank; Ferrometals, Witbank




Steinmuller, Secunda; Kaefer, Secunda; TMS, Secunda







Eastern Cape

City Hall, Port Elizabeth


Cde Zanoxolo Wayile, Regional Secretary @ 082 304 8523


Guestro Forging & Machining, Addison Street, Uitenhage








Accerdo Mittal, Newcastle; CDC Dorothy, Newcastle


Cde Mbuso Ngubane, Regional Secretary @ 082 453 2858


Dunlop, Ladysmith




Cousin Steel; MacDonald Steel, Shurlok, Trotec Engineering, Alumico, Multi-Metal, Paragon Steel, Prostec; All Pietermaritzburg




Federal Mogul, Steel Bank, Canopy Workshop, Man Truck and Bus, Man Truck Workshop, SA Truck Body; All Pinetown, Durban




UEC Technologies, PFK, Umngeni Iron Works, Conlog, Serco Industries, Non Ferrous, Dunlop Tryes, Rheem SA, L & J Tools, Non Ferrous, Aunde SA, Toyota Boshuku, Federal Mogul, Fraser and Chalmers, Technique Manufacturing, Sews SA; All Durban and Isipingo




Avenue Plastics, ITB Manufacturing, Wheelpool, Richards Bay local, Bayside Aluminium, Hillside Alluminium, Bell, Duys, Isithebe












Tomorrow’s World Day for Decent Work is taking place within the context of grinding income inequalities; massive retrenchments of workers; skyrocketing and rising cost of basic necessities and living; and the hard hitting financial crisis amongst the poor and developing world.


In our country the World Day for Decent Work will be organized within the context of workers exerting pressure to the ruling oligarchy and captains of industries to ban labour brokers in line with government’s agenda of creating decent work and sustainable livelihoods. This is consistent with the ANC Alliance elections manifesto spirit and priorities.


Currently, South Africa has taken over Brazil as the most unequal country in the world given the huge income gap and inequalities. This has given rise to the consolidation of apartheid capitalism’s inherited privileges for white South Africans, whilst entrenching poverty and underdevelopment amongst the broad section of the working class and the poor.


As Numsa, we share the view expressed by the Cosatu’s President Sdumo Dlamini that labour brokers and decent work cannot coexist.  This is the view which the watershed 52nd National Conference of the ANC held in Polokwane firmly articulated and resolved to support. Labour brokers are also inconsistent with any notion of a developmental state that intervenes on behalf of the poor and the working class in any society.


  1. Workers Unite & Free Yourselves from being chained Prisoners of Labour Brokers!


The South African workers should never allow themselves to be driven back into the dark days of Jan Van Riebeeck’s ‘Slave –Master’ relations and Apartheid capitalism where they are denied their labour and human rights, and where they are racially fragmented, brutally exploited and oppressed by South African white capitalism.


Workers should never be co-opted or be convinced by our class enemies and by some unprincipled leaders within our movement that this modern day practice of broad daylight slavery called labour broking plays a strategic and meaningful role towards job creation and decent work. Instead labour brokers have brought misery to the lives of many workers and their families. Workers who work for labour brokers enjoy no social security benefits and many ways are denied trade union rights enshrined in our constitution.


Members of the media are hereby invited to attend all these activities. All pickets and demonstrations are starting or beginning at 12h00 mid-day.



1.4 COSATU North West march against labour brokers


Solly Phetoe, COSATU North West Provincial Secretary, 06 October 2009


The Congress of South African Trade Unions and its affiliates in the North West will be demonstrating and picketing with mini marches to the Department of Labour tomorrow, Wednesday 7 October. Demonstrators will be targeting government, contractors such JIC, Iron gate, Sindile and municipalities.


Marches will take places as follows;


  • Madibeng - from NUMSA local office to the Department of labour starting from 12H00 – 14H00


  • Mafikeng - from Megacity to the Department of Labour starting from 12H00 -14H00


  • Vryburg – from NEHAWU Regional office to the Department of Labour from 12H00- 14H00


  • Matlosana – from COSATU provincial office to the Department of Labour from 12H00 -14H00


In all the above areas workers lost jobs due to the labour brokers and contractors that employ over 1600 workers at the mine called Badplats as a result of the JIC commercial contract, which is against the Labour Relation Act. Workers were earning less than what the mine pays to their permanent employees. Workers are employed under bad condition with poor accommodation with no water, no electricity, no benefits and their health and safety is compromised.


COSATU demands that:


Ø  All workers who are dismissed under JIC, Sindile, Irongate in the country be reinstated now.


Ø  All workers who were employed under labour brokers, contractors and consultant at government and municipalities be employed permanently now.


Ø  All labour brokers, consultants and other agency of exploitation to be terminated in our country now.


Ø  All labour brokers, contractors to pay all what they owe to workers now.


Ø  All companies, mines and government to terminate or scraped all labour brokers agreement or contractors now.


COSATU calls on all its members to start demonstrating, picketing today during tea breaks, lunch time and join the marches in all regions. This is a build up towards the provincial march before the end of October 2009.


All members, the unemployed, communities, SACP, SANCO and NGOs are requested to attend the public hearing on 6th October 2009, 15h00 at Vaal Reefs shaft no. 1.



1.5 COSATU North West makes submission on labour broking to the Public hearing

Solly Phetoe, COSATU North West Provincial Secretary, 06 October 2009



The Congress of South African Trade Unions is submitted yesterday to the Portfolio Committee on Labour that the labour brokers, their agencies and contractors must be scraped.  COSATU submitted the following:


Ø  That members and workers are losing jobs due to agreements between companies  and labour brokers, agencies or contractors. 1600 workers lost their jobs at Madibeng employed by Crocodile mine under JIC, Sindile and Irongate. Workers were employed as slaves owned by JIC labour brokers with bad conditions, earning between R1 200-R1600 a month, less than the R2 000 which is the rate of the miner employed directly by the mine.


Ø  Labour brokers and contractor have signed a slavery contract or agreement with mines, without the knowledge of the workers, against Labour Relations Act or any labour law in South Africa.


Ø  Workers are employed under slavery condition of service such as working extra hours without overtime payment, no lunch time, occupational, health and safety standards are not observed, poor accommodation with no water, and no electricity at some stage. They pay for food, have no provident fund, medical aid or UIF. Workers work as operators without being taken for training for years, as per the Skills Development Act,. Workers are not enjoying what is contained in the LRA, Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Health and Safety Act, Skills Development Act and the bargaining agreements. Workers are dismissed as and when the employer wishe.


Workers employed under labour brokers face discrimination, racism and other forms of exploitation. Sectors that are affected in our province are:

Ø  Mining

Ø  Agriculture

Ø  Manufacturing

Ø  Security

Ø  Retailers

Ø  Hospitalities – such as shoprite and pick n pay

Ø  Municipalities now they use consultant on permanent job’s


Therefore COSATU calls upon the portfolio committee to ban the labour brokers and their agencies. All workers who are employed by labour brokers must be employed permanent because decent work means workers must be employed permanently with all the LRA requirements being followed.



SACP logo

1.6 Alliance calls for outlawing of labour brokers 

Dumisa Ntuli, 06 October 2009

The ANC, COSATU, SACP and SANCO alliance  has supported the call for the outlawing of labour brokers in South Africa.  To discover that 15 years after a new political dispensation many labour brokers still use casual workers, child labour, pay meager wages, no medical aid and no compensatory pension is a disgrace. 

The legislative shortcomings have been glaring with specific experiences of rights of workers being violated under labour brokerage. The most pertinent findings of many cases reveal that labour brokerage is critically linked non-standard form of employment and lack of unionization. The Labour Relations Act extrapolates on the standard employment relationship but workers under labour brokers are ostensibly denied their basic rights.

There are legislatives gaps which have been identified that relates to clear lack definition of casual and seasonal workers. Some collective bargaining arrangements do not cover casual and seasonal workers. There other legislative challenge relates to inadequate distinction between an employee and independent contractor.

In reality, labour brokers take advantage of the legislative gaps. There is also no clear imperative between the employer and the contractor regarding issues of liability and which lead to inadequate protection for workers who are recruited by labour brokers. Many of the labour brokers are not proper registered hence workers do not receive the same benefits and advantages as permanent workers.

Workers under labour brokers are paid below the minimum standards and there is lack of clear division of roles and responsibility between the employer and labour broker. The outlawing would be appropriate because many labour brokers do not understand labour legislation hence they do not comply to register workers with UIF and workers compensation.

The ANC, COSATU , SACP and SANCO call to outlaw labour brokers is important because it has increased the level of casualisation and outsourcing of labour. It has allowed employers to shift the burden to employ workers on permanent basis with full benefits. It is also worse in the farming sector which has resulted into child labour with no tangible job security.

To regulate would not work because of incapacity to monitor and deficit in the labour legislation. The regulatory mechanisms have been tested in the steel and engineering sector which has lurched from one embarrassment to another. We are really putting a case against labour brokering because it has no place in a decent society that cares about the welfare of its workers and appreciate their contribution to the economy of the country. The system is exploitative because workers pay most of what they work hard for to the middle man. 



SACTWU Logo1.7 SACTWU suspends wage strike in Botshabelo


Andre Kriel SACTWU General Secretary, 06 October 2009



Following the partially suspension of strike by over 55 000 clothing workers affiliated to SACTWU last Tuesday after the adoption of a settlement facilitated by the CCMA, the union announced that in areas where there were still unresolved issues the strike would still continue. On Monday, SACTWU met with the Botshabelo & Thaba 'Nchu Manufacturing Association (BTMA), in Botshabelo with a view to settle unresolved issues .


Arising from the meeting, the BTMA provided SACTWU with firm written commitments which now places the union  in a position to announce that, after 14 working days of strike action in the Botshabelo/Thaba 'Nchu area, almost 2 000 clothing workers have returned to work as from yesterday.


The BTMA has agreed to the following:

-the average actual weekly wage paid will be increased by 18.7% (wages are still very low and this will help to lift it substantially);

-the increases will be backdated to 1st September 2009;

-the employers will take steps to register the BTMA as an employers' organisation with the Department of Labour;

-the BTMA will pursue a goal for its members to become compliant with the legal wage levels and they will partcipate in a working group to pursue this objective (many employers in the area are paying wages which are below the legal minimum);

-the trade union will be granted a closed shop covering all companies and all workers in the area.


This suspension means that the national strike is now suspended in all areas other than Qwa Qwa and parts of Isithebe, where the union is urging about 3 000 members to remain on strike until we have won satisfactory commitments from employers in those areas.




1.8 Cosatu rejects threat from Premier Hellen Zille


Tony Ehrenreich COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary


Cosatu Provincial Secretary, Tony Ehrenreich, has received a letter from the Western Cape Premier, Hellen Zille, demanding an apology for raising questions about her jaunt abroad to Germany. COSATU has described Zille’s request as strange given her long-time insistence on the right to hold people in Government accountable.


Her statement was in relation to President Zuma. COSATU would not in any way interfere in her right to question anybody as she recently did with the presidential phone line.


Enhret has vowed to turn down Zille’s request to apologize and told her to rather focus on the urgent needs of the people of the Western Cape. “Should she however elect to waste tax payers’ money by dragging me to the courts as she threatens, I will have no option but to advise the people of the Western Cape,” said Enhret..


He said that the Premier should rest assured that he would exercise his right to hold Zille to account, in spite of her threat, especially in the light of her recent dubious activities.



2 South Africa


2.1 SADTU  reasserts itself to lead education transformation


Nomusa Cembi, SADTU Media Officer, 06 October 2009                                            


SADTU National General Council met over three days at the Kopanong Conference Centre to chart a way forward in preparation for the SADTU National Congress in 2010. Some of the resolutions adopted include:

·         To reiterate our support for the Quality of Learning and Teaching Campaign, and in particular to commit ourselves to the non-negotiables, including that teachers must be on time, on task, thoroughly prepared and behave professionally in accordance with our code of conduct at all times. The Union unequivocally condemns  the minority of teachers whose bad behaviour – particularly sexual abuse of learners – brings the profession into disrepute.

·         To engage the department of education to ensure that they meet their undertakings in terms of the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign, including: to provide basic infrastructure, manageable class sizes, leaning materials and teacher development and support

·         To prioritise the issue of school safety, to better understand the challenges we are facing, and to develop comprehensive policies and implement measures to combat these problems.

·         To call for the FET Act to be repealed and the FETC sector brought back under the authority of the state to ensure good governance, quality education and centralized collective bargaining in the sector.

·         To hail the advantageous agreements on OSD and the 2009 remuneration package. The task now is to force the employer to table its plans for implementation. Implementation of the general pay increment must take place by 30 September. The employer is given until the 30 September 2009 to declare the available for funds for the implementation of the OSD collective agreement no 4, failing which a special NEC will be convened to develop a programme of action to respond appropriately. On the salary negotiations for 2010/2011 the union will embark on a consultation process which shall be completed by not later than end of October 2009.

·         On FET draft collective agreement, the Union shall embark on a consultation process for a period of two weeks.

·         To bargain for improved conditions for employees in the ABET and ECD and FET sectors.

·         To oppose the unilateral dismissal of protesting soldiers by the state and COSATU, to campaign for full labour rights and improved conditions of these employees.

·         To reaffirm SADTU’s support for the ANC and the Alliance as the only vehicle capable of deepening our national democratic revolution and transforming society in the interest of the working class and the poor. In addition to our participation in COSATU and the ANC, this must also include swelling the ranks of the SACP, supporting the campaign of the Party and building education industrial branches.

Four new leaders were elected into positions that were left vacant when some of our members were deployed to serve as members of parliament. They are Mugwena John Maluleke as General Secretary, Lucas Maphila was elected Deputy President, Nkosana Dolophi was elected  Deputy General Secretary  and Dorcas Sokebata – Vice President for Gender.




2.2 SADTU set to bring back the love of sports in schools 


Nomusa Cembi, SADTU Media Officer, 6 October 2009                        


The South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) is holding a three-day National Sports Festival in the Free State, Bloemfontein from Wednesday, 7 until 10 October, 2009.

The Festival – one of the biggest events in the SADTU calendar this year - will attract close to 1 200 delegates from all nine provinces who will compete in various sporting codes ranging from soccer, rugby, netball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis,  pool, softball to chess.

For SADTU, sports is not only for fun, entertainment and competition but is one of the most effective unifiers of people of different races, cultures, sex and creed. SADTU also sees sports as one of the best promoters of health and wellness.

SADTU has over the past few years seen a slow decline in sport participation in schools by learners.

SADTU hopes the Sports Festival will inculcate the passion for sports among teachers which will then cascade to learners in schools.

 “Sport, art and culture are crucial to learner development and should not be treated as extra-curricula. They are part and parcel of education. We therefore call upon the department of education to provide sporting facilities, trained personnel and time to engage in sport in schools – more especially in rural areas,” Mugwena Maluleke SADTU General Secretary said.

SADTU will also use the first day (wednesday) of the Festival to celebrate World Teachers’ Day under the theme “Build the Future: Invest in Teachers Now!”  SADTU President Thobile Ntola will officially open the event and the Deputy Minister of Basic Education Enver Surty will deliver one of the keynote addresses.

Other speakers will include Free State MEC for Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation Dan Kgothule and Education Deputy Director General Gugu Ndebele  




NEHAWU Logo2.3 NEHAWU concern at the tabling of the green paper on national strategic planning

Fikile Majola, NEHAWU General Secretary, 6 October 2009


NEHAWU has noted with deep concern the tabling of the Green Paper on National Strategic Planning to the Ad Hoc Committee on the Green Paper on National Strategic Planning in Parliament this morning. 


Accordingly, in his presentation the Minister announced that the Ad Hoc Committee will table its report on the Green Paper on the 17th October 2009 in the National Assembly, upon which the Cabinet will consider inputs and comments from Parliament for final adoption and then proceed to establish the National Planning Commission and its Secretariat.


Whilst NEHAWU acknowledge the Minister’s emphasis on the need for broad consultation with social partners and society at large on the long-term vision due to come out of the planning process undertaken by the NPC, the union is still worried.

NEHAWU is concerned that there would not be any meaningful consultation on the Green Paper itself, in the light of the Minister’s announcement regarding the process ahead. 


The union therefore in line with the resolution of the 10th Congress of COSATU calls for:


  • An Alliance engagement process and broader consultation with social partners at NEDLAC, before the finalisation of the process in Parliament and the final adoption of the Green Paper by Cabinet.
  • Further consultation on the Green Paper in the provinces, in the light of the fact that the planning process is envisaged to encapsulate the provincial and local government planning and policy implementation processes.
  • An extensive consultative process of Public Hearings in the national Parliament.


It is a known fact that the need for a high level planning and the planning commission and other modalities towards the establishment of the developmental state were agreed upon at the Alliance summit in October 2008.

NEHAWU therefore believes that it is only proper that the Green Paper should be considered in the impending Alliance summit and that this should take place prior to further processes in parliament and government.


3. International



3.1 GUFs Support Thai Workers: Permanent Jobs First, Ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98


ICEM News release, 6 October 2009


International trade union federations lend their support to the Thai labour movement’s campaign to protect precarious workers and their demands for the ratification of fundamental International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions numbers 87 and 98, on Freedom of Association and the Right to Organise and the Right to Collective Bargaining.

Thousands of workers will gather outside the United Nations Building on Ratchadamnoen Road from 10:00 am to attend the big open air seminar on ILO Conventions 87 and 98 in front of the UN Building where the ILO office is also located.

The workers then will march to Government House in Bangkok at noon on October 7 demanding the abolition of temporary, casual contract and other form of non-regular employment and calling for the ratification of the core ILO conventions to protect workers’ rights in Thailand.

Representatives of the International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine, and General Workers’ Unions (ICEM) and the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) attended the rally in support of the Thai unions’ action, which coincides with the World Day for Decent Work and a week of global mobilisation against precarious work.

Fernando Lopes, Assistant General Secretary of the IMF, will speak at the rally. Lopes states, “across Thailand and around the world regular employment is systematically being replaced by precarious employment and this situation not only affects workers but also trade union membership. With low wages, lack of social security and tenure of employment these workers are the most exploited.”

“Around the world today, unions are taking the fight to governments, calling on them to ensure equal rights for precarious workers and to strengthen legislation to prevent employers from using precarious employment in place of permanent and direct employment,” added Lopes.

"The economic crisis has made this demand all the more urgent, not only because precarious jobs have been the first to be lost, but because there is a real risk that employers will use the crisis as a justification to replace permanent jobs with precarious jobs. We support our affiliate the Confederation of Thai Electrical Appliances, Electronic Automobile & Metalworkers (TEAM) in their demands on government to protect workers and ensure that employers can't treat them as a disposable commodity," he argued.

For the ICEM, ICEM Thai Union Affiliates’ Committee Chairman Rawai Pupaga, the President of the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation Labour Union (GPOLU), said, “For decades, the labour movement has urged the Thai government to ratify these Conventions, but prior governments have neglected the labour demands.”

“Non-ratification of these important Conventions has resulted in barriers and obstructions to workers who want to form trade unions and pursue collective bargaining. Now is the time for the Thai government to prove that we have a democratic country, because Conventions 87 and 98 give basic and democratic rights inside the workplace.”

Added ICEM General Secretary Manfred Warda, “It is important that the Thai government lead by starting the process toward ratification of these ILO core labour standards. It is also important that the government create and maintain a healthy, sustainable economy by promoting temporary and agency work into permanent, full-time employment opportunities.”

Besides GPOLU, Warda commended other Thai labour federations affiliated to the ICEM that are taking action in Bangkok tomorrow on World Day for Decent Work. They include the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand Labour Union (EGATLU); the Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Federation (PCFT); the Paper and Printing Workers’ Federation (PPFT); and the Chemical Workers’ Union Alliance (CWUA).

In addition to ICEM and IMF, the rally is supported by the International Textile, Garment, and Leather Workers’ Federation (ITGLWF), the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF), Public Services International (PSI), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI), State Enterprise Relations Confederation (SERC), Thai Labour Solidarity Committee (TLSC), and all the national trade union congresses in Thailand.

The action is being organized by TEAM, ICEM Thai Committee, Thai Labour Solidarity Committee and the State Enterprise Relations Confederation.






4. Letters


4.1 Labour brokers...... Trading our People away


Gugu Ndima


The decision of the Minister of labour to opt to regulate the Labour broking industry as opposed to the complete ban has been received with mixed reaction from Unions, political organisations and society as a whole. It’s been proven on a preponderance of probabilities that the usage of labour brokers has been detrimental to the working class; the only beneficiaries of such a practise has been the labour brokers themselves as well as the companies that choose to utilise this mechanism for employment. 


The Minister of labour was quoted in a statement issued by the Department of labour on the 5th of August 2009 saying “labour broking is a form of human trafficking (not necessarily in itself an act of human trafficking)” saying the practice was selling the labour of workers to the highest bidder. He continued to say that “It is an extreme form of free market capitalism which reduces workers to commodities that can be traded for profit as if they were meat or vegetables”. Clearly this is an indication that the Minister has justifiable grounds to declare the practise illegal and exploitative in its very nature.


We should deviate from being narrow-minded about the implications of the usage of labour brokers; the impact is not only within the context of Labour, their impacts further manifest themselves within the socio –economic framework of most workers.

Firstly labour broking has intensified exploitation by companies because the full wage that the worker is entitled to is reduced as a result of this intermediary broker.

Secondly, it minimises the workers ability to be economically active due to certain restrictions that are the default consequences of being under the administration of a labour broker.

Financial institutions for example have certain requirements in place, which in turn become obstacles for those that are not permanently employed by companies e.g. one cannot apply for any long-term debt with a financial institution regardless of how long they have been employed. It also promotes perpetual casualisation of employees and that simply means that permanency is not necessarily based on merit but it is at the discretion of the employer when they see it fit; that on its own is an infringement of one’s’ rights as you might end up spending years being considered a casual employee and eventually finding yourself unemployed without being given prior notice as rights enjoyed by those who are permanent are not necessarily available to those that are under labour brokers.

Monopolising the labour market

There seems to be a high trend of collusion in South Africa and the labour brokerage industry has not been vindicated from the unscrupulous practise. The tendency observed amongst employers and labour brokers is that most posts that have been advertised on media always have a reference made to a labour broker firm or recruitment agency; should one attempt contacting the organisation directly, you are referred to the labour broker direct.

This now means that the working class will be subjected to the mercy of labour brokers in order to be seen as competent. The tests utilised by labour brokers in some instances, to assess merit and skills competencies are disadvantageous to those with no access to technology. The fact that some people need to register their Resumes online already ostracises the poor and the working class in our society.

The fact that you need to first via the route of being interviewed by the labour broker prior to the employer is an unnecessary barrier for those that have limited resources to move around logistically.    

Labour brokers: pro-employer and anti-trade unionism.

 Labour brokers are anti-union because they constantly move workers around from one place to another often with no access to union officials; with no possibility of stop order deduction for union subscriptions. The usage of labour brokerage has frustrated the process of organising employees to form unions within sectors that are labour broker oriented.

This has resulted in unfair dismissals and workers accepting conditions of employment that are unbearable as a result of fear instilled by those that hold the power to “hire and fire” without consultation; this is another attribute to why the private sector is advocating the retaining of labour brokers. It’s easier to delegate labour dispute matters to labour brokers to deal with as opposed to the matter being dealt with by the Human resource structures or employee representative structures. This compromises the process of dealing with grievances raised by the worker as there is never a proper and objective process in order to deal with the matter at hand.

It would be a complete betrayal to the working class should the Minister agree to allow such a perverse practise to continue. As mentioned above, this is a “modern slave trade” practise as the ideological connotation and underlying fundamental principle utilised today is the same as that utilised in the past where men of colour and plebeians were seen as commodities of trade.        

Labour brokers have profited immensely since the boom of the call-centre industry and retail industry (lest we forget that the majority of young people are working within call-centers). This does not promote progression as the ceiling is very low for those in that industry. People employed within these sectors by labour brokers have found it exhausting and futile to take up matters with the conciliation and mediation institutions because they are always referred back to their labour brokers who have no interest in worker disputes.

It’s imperative that this matter is addressed holistically because it seems now that the Minister has the private sectors’ interests as well as those that are the profiteers of the practise and suppressing the casualties of this practise in the process. This has also exposed that companies blatantly refuse to increase wages; if they can pay labour brokers why can’t they increase wages?

There is no logic in having a human resource department whereby 60% of the work is outsourced to labour brokers and people that administer payrolls, but yet there is an employed HR manager that still gets a full-scale market related salary. Clearly this indicates that there is a huge resistance by the private sector to pay workers decent wages, they would rather enrich other capitalists just like them and continue to frustrate workers.

The newly founded marriage of convenience between the COPE and the DA on the issue of Labour brokers has to a certain extent exposed COPE’s morality vacuum and its non-existent interest in advancing issues of the poor and the working class. Self regulation is already taking place tacitly within this industry as Labour brokers do not account to structures of government.

Having a regulatory board simply monopolises the sector even further. The “newly-weds” suggested that those that would control the board would be key players in the sector; however the very same key players are the ones that have been named by the Department as unscrupulous!  These two narrow minded organisations want to justify their simplistic argument by using The Estate Agency Affairs board an example, which is completely obscure as a model as the board does not with workers but simply intermediary agents.

Having a board simply assists the Labour brokers in ensuring that their interests are well secured. This marriage of no substance needs to understand that the issue is LABOUR BROKERS themselves; they are not job creators, they are the agents of red tape for the prospect employee and the modem of convenience for the employer. These organisations have affirmed that they represent those that seek to undermine the struggle of the poor and the working class and advance the agenda of capitalism.

The call to ban Labour brokers must be heard and championed.



4.2 Workers are like lost souls under labour brokers

Mr WT Ncube, 6 October 2009


I am a bit concerned as I write to you. A lot has been said about this issue. We as the masses are sick and tired of exploitation by these brokers. My concern is that there is not enough focus on the industry that I work for, the customer service industry. I’ve been working for Multichoice as a temp for more than seven years now through these brokers. I'm sure there is a lot of people work for the same industry in call centres. If you can temp for such a long time what is stopping these companies to employ permanent staff. There is also a lack of unionisation in these sectors due to the nature of their work. We are like lost souls. No one seem to care.



 4.3 Employers refuse workers to participate on the national strike on labour brokers

Anonymous in Durban, 06 October, 2009


I’m an agent working at MTN’s 173 customer service employed by a labour broker (Tlalefang Placements), and I’m concern about our being unable to participate in the national strike as our agency does not allow us to join and participate with labour federations/unions.


How, please, can this issued be tackled.




4.4 The problem with this country (Swaziland)


Mario Masuku, PUDEMO President, 6 October 2009

All of my life, I have come to believe that the freedom can never be a reality unless it is carried out by the people themselves, particularly the oppressed and downtrodden majority. For this to be realized, though, the oppressed require a state of consciousness rooted within the context of objective reality—an ability to view the world as it is.

This is a qualitative thinking and action touching on the attitude of the oppressed and eradicates such pandemic ills such as existential weariness. A weariness not physical but psychological and builds within the oppressed a notion that the dominating, elitist and undemocratic regimes are unconquerable; a belief in myths that such regimes are mandated by mythical gods or ancestors and cannot be challenged.

I wish that this column, in the ambit of a highly regarded newspaper, be regarded as part of a dialogue—a nation talking to itself. In the centre, I will merely be a facilitator in this national dialogue.

Undoubtedly and hopefully one will bring to the fore issues of socio-economic and political contradictions within our community and thus engage both young and old, progressive and conservative and entire cross section of classes into a vibrant debate for a prosperous nation. It is, therefore, necessary to take a few steps back to recap on the historical context of the people’s journey on their path to their eventual breakthrough and freedom.


We will engage, later, on the concrete or material conditions in the conjuncture, the motive forces driving the popular demands, constant issues of conflicts and the alternatives open to us as a nation. The onus for this task lies solely in the hands of the oppressed and not the dominating force or class. It is a fact that the oppressor cannot, as an individual or class, liberate or be liberated—it is only the oppressed that through self-liberation as an individual and as a class liberates the oppressor by simply forbidding him/her from continued oppression. There always, in life of the dominated poor, come a time when they can bear no more, and proclaim that enough is enough. No power, however strong, can stop their discourse.

Our struggle towards freedom calls on us to walk the streets and paths of history to the objective destiny—to right the wrongs within the country’s concrete conditions. Men and women need to show commitment—for the terrain is challenging. People must adopt that democratic radicalness in themselves, for to merely say that there appears equity in society, meaning that our people enjoy the right to starve, right to lack education, homes, enjoy the right not to have water, right not to enjoy health care and above all to enjoy the right not to have a voice in one’s governance. In my country, we have the right not to be!

Sadly, these rights are ‘enjoyed’ by us the working class, peasants, us in the shanty towns—the poorest of the poor, while the elite minority feast on the cream of our toil. They live in mansions, attend elite class schools and health centres and highly salaried. Undemocratic regimes normally shift the blame in this crisis to the dominated forces—that they are lazy, they do not use their heads and demand too much.


On the other side of the coin, the dominating class enacts bad and repressive laws for further suppression in fear of and anger against freedom. Such regimes opt to pile up on unnecessary, second hand expensive armory instead of investing on dialogue peace and stability and economic advance of the people. They often hide behind culture and tradition—the biggest defence tools used by the unpopular regimes.

“Totalitarian regimes imposed on free peoples, by the direct or indirect aggression, undermine the foundations of international peace and hence the security of a country.” Harry S. Truman -1947 USA President. Our country has produced dynamic people who today are either serving the governments across the region (actually in socio-economic exile) or are lying low locally in fear of a makhundu or kukhanywa any time they intend contributing towards nation building.

One should not wonder, therefore, as to where the average aged, the mature citizens, the intellectual, professional and studentry of Swaziland are. Indeed since that fateful and shameful April 1973 Proclamation we were effectively silenced and buried under those cultural myths and untruths. This has relegated even the grey-haired, the intellectuals, to be minor subjects—incapable of making and taking independent critical social decisions.


Only ‘Labadzala’ shape our destiny. The Swazi struggle, like many others, is characterized by the ‘national question’ that what is, where lies the problem and its magnitude? Time and time again we have placed the blame on the colonial masters, the weather, ancestors, neighbours, labour and the progressive movement. I believe that it is now the opportune time for us as a nation to positively but honestly identify the problem, identify ways in which to make people’s lives to improve and promote a spirit of nation building and harmony.

This debate may live us with scars, pain and sprains but, at the end, it will give us a finished product we shall all be proud of. Within this national question is underpinned the issue of direction, ownership, unity, governance, tradition and culture, socio economy and identity. I know that we have the tendency to bury our heads in the sand (so to speak) when dealing with so-called sensitive matters. It would, however, benefit the whole nation if the matter was dealt with once and for all.

The current chieftaincy and boundary and land ownership disputes are proving a sore-in-the-armpit for those in authority and will continue to be so in future. The national question will be discussed further in detail in future episodes of this column. For any people to move progressively forward, it needs to critically look back and analyse its history but not dwell on it. Quite a lot has been written and discussed about the era from that historical moment of 1973 to date. Suffice it to say that in the quest by the governed to return government to the people, the state’s response was;

·        Political participation was banned and government was vested in the hands of an absolute monarch.
·        Opposition and individuals were deported and others were detained without trial.
·        The Tinkhundla ideology was put to test and to date no blue print is available.
·        There were Commissions (not referendums) set out for people’ views whose official statistical outcomes were not pronounced.
·        Continued calls and demands for inclusive participation in the political arena are ignored.
·        Unarmed protesters are violently suppressed and charged under the Public Order, Treason and Sedition Acts and none repressive Terrorism Act.
·        Calls for National Dialogue are ignored and, instead, the cosmetic and colonially managed and monitored Smart Partnership and dishonest engagements are attempted. Results (if any) do not take us any step closer to reconciliation.
·        The security forces are instructed, trained to become more high-handed, inevitable clashes are experienced and many people are injured and arrested.
·        More citizens seek asylum and exile status in neighbouring and overseas states.
·        Laws meant to entrench undue control are enacted and, in their course, violate people’s freedom to associate and express.
·        Organisations and individuals are banned and people are irrationally and emotionally locked up.
Members of the civic groups have been more united in action lately although under threat of intimidation.
The reaction by the state to recent explosions, the subsequent banning of PUDEMO, SWAYOCO, Umbane and the SSN and my arrest in November, 2008 are subject of our next edition.

It is unfortunate that the routes and phases of any struggle are not determined by the oppressed and poor masses, but by the dominant minority class. It is they who would call on serious and critical dialogue and it will be done, and it is they also who call on violence and the oppressed react in that fashion in self defence. Indeed, violence breeds violence but I believe that there is always an alternative to it as long as there is a political will and commitment from all sides. I believe that a country’s picture outside depicts the kind of leadership it has and we still have the opportunity to strike a harmonious note for peace in our land.

There has always been the talk of rebels, people who hate the country and those in the corridors of power. What nonsense! You see, the highest kind of loyalty, patriotism, true loyalty to one’s country, may demand disloyalty to its pretences, hostility to the policies of its government, a willingness to unmask its leaders, and recognition of the limits of its power.

History teaches us that it is not the rebels or dissidents who endanger a society, but rather the accepting, the indifferent, the unthinking, the unquestioning. And this lesson knows no national boundaries. Then if I have to make a choice, I would rather be a rebel than a conforming reformist and coward.
Yes, we can all look back to the past and learn from it, study the present and cast a way forward to a better future and generation. A future underpinned by national commitment, love and hope. Yes, together we can make it.



4.5 Guinea massacre


Alice, Luis, Benjamin, Ricken, Graziela, Paula, Pascal, Iain and the whole Avaaz team, 6 October 2009.


A bloody massacre in Guinea could undermine peace across West Africa. Sign the call for targeted sanctions on the Guinean junta and let's raise a popular outcry worldwide against this crackdown:

Sign The Petition!

Last week, over 150 civilians were killed when the military opened fire on a peaceful pro-democracy rally in the West African country of Guinea. Women were raped and people were bayoneted on the streets as they tried to escape -- a terrifying message to a nation crying out to elect a democratic, civilian government for the first time.

In spite of the international community's condemnation of the violence and calls for the regime to allow elections, the junta is clinging to power, warning ominously that the army is acting beyond the chain of command. The tense situation threatens to spiral into inter-factional fighting or a counter-coup, which would likely see violence spill over and destabilize the whole region.

We need to act fast. The international community must send a clear message that unless the regime agrees to step down and allow a peaceful democratic transition, they will face immediate, tightly-targeted sanctions. The African and European Unions have discussed invoking travel and banking sanctions on the ruling elite, who love to fly and shop: this could be the best chance to have quick impact, without hurting Guinea's people -- who desperately need our help. We'll deliver this campaign to European and African leaders before they meet later this month -- click the link below to sign the petition and forward this email:

The military ruler of Guinea, Capitan Moussa Dadis Camara, seized power in a military coup last year. He had agreed to step aside and allow for democratic elections next year -- but after months of tension, recently reneged on that promise. The people of Guinea have suffered over 50 years of brutal and corrupt dictatorships. Tens of thousands of civilians who attended last week’s rally were clamouring for an end to military rule and opposing his candidacy in elections.

The violence against civilians was brutal. A human rights watch witness stated: “I saw the Red Berets [an elite unit within the military] catch some of the women who were trying to flee, rip off their clothes, and stick their hands in their private parts. Others beat the women, including on their genitals... the women were crying out.”

Firm action is needed not just to make clear that we reject the violent repression of people anywhere who stand up to demand democratic and accountable government, but because what happens in Guinea will affect dozens of other fledgling democracies across Africa, where would-be dictators are closely watching the response from the international community. Years have been spent establishing a fragile peace in neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia. If Guinea blows, they too could be at risk.

An international inquiry is needed into the violence and the army must return to barracks. But a week after the massacre, opposition leaders remain in military detention, and Capitan Camara is shirking responsibility for the violence, blaming the opposition and banning all public 'subversive' meetings -- sending a clear signal that he isn't going step aside easily or bend to initial international declarations.

The regional body, Economic Community of West African States, has nominated a negotiator for Guinea. But any talks must be backed up by clear international pressure -- otherwise the mineral-rich regime could hold on, ruling through the biggest army in the region. A policy of targeted AU and EU sanctions, affecting the leadership personally, could be pivotal -- not only could it help halt more bloodshed, it could start to lay the foundation for a democratic transition.

Guinea's people desperately need international help and support now. Let's stand with them, send a clear message to the Guinean military and forces across Africa who seek to rule by the gun that the time for repressive military rule is over. Sign the petition and send it on to family and friends:

With hope,

More information:

Guinea massacre tolls put at 157, BBC, 30 September

Human Rights Watch witnesses from the rally:

Capitan Moussa Dadis Camara says army is out of control:

ECOWAS negotiator nominated:

Violence in Guinea threaten the whole region:

Guinea’s Capital Fades Into a Ghost Town After Soldiers’ Rampage, New York Times, 30 September

Guinea's military leader banned all gatherings and demonstrations until further notice, AP, 30 September

Guinea asks Russia to block UNSC sanctions