The recently launched trade union body, the SA Federation of Trade Unions, has called for the the dismissal of acting national police commissioner Lt-General Khomotso Phahlane.
Saftu said Phahlane must go because he is too corrupt to lead the country’s police service.
Saftu convenor Zwelinzima Vavi said the commissioner was facing far too many serious corruption allegations which made him unsuitable to lead the SAPS.
Vavi, who was giving the first report at Saftu’s launching congress in Boksburg on Friday, said the new federation is going to be controlled by workers at grassroots level rather than by head office.
“We are raising the bar. We want to reach the sky in building this federation,” Vavi said.
He said they aimed to represent 75% of all workers of South Africa.
“We are not rivaling Cosatu, we don’t rival a dying federation.
“We are not building another Cosatu, we are building something new out of the old,” he said.
The new body also said it would strive to build a movement that would fight the struggles of the workers.
Saftu currently represents 24 unions comprising of close to 700 000 workers countrywide. This makes the new federation the second biggest in the country after Cosatu.
Vavi said its central values are dignity for all, equality for all and opportunity for all.
Solidarity, which attended the launching congress, expressed interest in joining the federation but feared that its belief in free market principles contradicted those of the socialist oriented Saftu.
“We decided to welcome Solidarity to this congress despite their belief in the market economy because we want to convince them that the world is in its current economic and political crisis today because of capitalism and its market economy system.”
“We are unashamedly socialist oriented. We oppose capitalist exploitation and we hate exploitation of one by another,” Vavi said.
The fiery former Cosatu general secretary said there must be a complete clean out and restructuring of trade unions.
“We must say no to big bureaucracies at the head office but forward to putting more resources at local level,” Vavi said.
He announced that many workers in the public service were waiting in the wings to join the new federation, through its public sector union, including those in Cosatu’s unions.
Vavi also said state capture happened in South Africa long before the new dispensation came into being. He said that it began when the ANC cut deals with international and local capitalists at the expense of the poor majority.
He said Mandela went to Europe where a deal was cut and thereafter the Growth Economic and Redistribution strategy (Gear) was adopted by ANC as South Africa’s economic policy.
“We have no friends in the ANC, we are no friends with Jacob Zuma and we are no friends with Cyril Ramaphosa either. All those [people] are our enemies, together with our employers,” Vavi said.
The new union federation rejected former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan as the “blue-eyed boy” of the monopoly capital.
Saftu said if Gordhan had continued as minister, he would have introduced austerity measures which would have plunged workers into further poverty.
The federation’s new leadership is set be elected later and will replace the interim steering committee appointed to organise the congress.