ANC national executive committee member and minister of arts and culture Nathi Mthethwa addressed a near-empty Lulekani Stadium in Limpopo during a provincial Workers’ Day (May Day) rally on Sunday.
He railed against a number of anti-ANC targets, most notably EFF leader Julius Malema, former labour federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and the formation of a new labour movement in society.
“We are meeting today, comrades, after 130 years of May Day – Workers’ Day today and in South Africa. We are celebrating 30 years of celebrating this important day, as it is not only celebrated in our country, but throughout the world. We are celebrating 30 years of defending collective bargaining and workers’ jobs and rights. And for us to defend workers’ jobs and rights, comrades, it has to be practical and has to be looked into beyond the shop floor but involving the working class as a whole in our communities and elsewhere,” he said.
In a reference to Malema, he said they were now told that society needed a messiah to cure it from corruption and that Malema was the champion of the workers, as he was wearing overalls and gumboots and so on.
“You know, the issue here is that our enemy is corrupt, comrades, and we must fight corrupt comrades, but we can’t be told by Julius, who led this province down on its knees through his corrupt activities, and come and tell us about some corruption,” added Mthethwa.
He said national government had to intervene in Limpopo and run the province because of this “chap” who said today he was “clean, as white as an ice, as white as snow and he will come and clean the sins of the sinners. We have got to ensure that our municipalities have programmes for young people. Part of what we need to do, comrades, is to have programmes that are going to engage young people, because if the army of the unemployed is growing within us and among, us we are going to have a threat to our democracy, and idle young people,” he said.
He added that idle young minds were dangerous minds.
“We are going to have young people who are easily going to be influenced and convinced by fraudsters who today claim to be messiahs for our problems in society. We need to be vigorous fighting corruption, and our anticorruption programme calls must start with municipalities. We were not going to have a problem in this Limpopo if comrades were firm. Some young boy comes and runs old people and impoverishes the entire province,” he said.
Mthethwa said they had to ensure that councillors abided by their code of conduct.
Turning his attention to the means of production, Mthethwa said that when they said that the power should be restored to the people, the ANC meant practical things. “We mean that the ownership of the means of production, the ownership of the economy of this country, especially in the mines and mining areas and sector, should be restored to the people.
“What is going to be happening in our country in a few months or weeks to come is that we are going to see the monopoly capitalists taking government to court, especially on mining,” added Mthethwa.
As for Vavi, Mthethwa said the labour federation should continue to grow in the space where they were operating despite new trade unions. “It is the job of Cosatu to ensure that there is one labour federation in this country under the leadership of Cosatu
“Those splinters and those individuals who left Cosatu and the [tripartite] alliance because they couldn’t get positions … there is one gentleman called Vavi who wanted to have a negotiated arrangement for him to be the deputy president of the ANC. We said in the ANC things don’t work that way, gentlemen. When you are not nominated, you can’t go to Nkandla and negotiate to be a deputy president,” said Mthethwa.
He further said Cosatu should fight for the rights of the workers and workers would always support Cosatu if it stood firm and represented them.
– Caxton News Service