Open letter to Media Houses
Re: Clarifying Tony’s Position
18 May 2018
Please receive correspondence from our offices in respect of the position of Cosatu Provincial Secretary of the Western Cape.
With regards to the correspondence that I sent, to the Unions of Cosatu indicating that I would not be available for elections in June at Cosatu Congress. This letter was sent to the media by someone, which resulted to number of interview by media house, and created lots of public interest in the issue. The Unions leadership at the Cosatu Provincial Executive Committee is managing the issues related to elections of future office Bearers.
On the day of the Cosatu Joint Shop Steward Council on the 12 April, we also held a protest at Parliament after lunch. Because Saftu had earlier in the day also had a march to Parliament, the City of Cape Town asked us to sort out the timing issues between ourselves. I went to the Parliament after JSSC, to ensure that Saftu is gone by the time Cosatu gets there, in case there is some conflict, given their statement on Cosatu. On my arrival at the picketing lines Numsa workers insisted that I get on the truck to greet the march. I then got on the truck and greeted the workers and repeated the message I had made to Numsa before, that workers must be united if we are to improve society.
This has now been taken up by some in the media, who are speculating that I am going to Numsa or Saftu. I have no plans to do that as my political home is in the Alliance and we have a political programme that progresses society in the real world. I hope to apply for a job in one of the Cosatu Unions in the New Year to continue taking forward the revolution through the Alliance. If I was going to go to Saftu, then surely I should just walk out now, so it destabilises Cosatu, so some members can follow me to Saftu. I have always acted in the interest of Cosatu, so please do not let some silly rumours dictate the discussions in Cosatu.
If I were to go to represent the ANC anywhere in government as some are suggesting then it would have to be at a union salary without the extravagant perks of political office. I think the social distance and extravagant salaries of government officials, that reinforce the apartheid wage gap, causes many of the problems in the alliance and the country. It is also true that our conditions shape our consciousness, as Marx had said, so I will not accept huge government salaries and the extravagance that often goes with public office.
The other option of work that some has mentioned for me is to serve on some company or parastatal boards to help stop company corruption. I would only do this if I was a board member that was not paid, so that I do not become like many other board members who keep quite in the face of financial and moral corruption that losses jobs in these companies.
Your humble servant in Cosatu.
Statement issued by Tony Ehrenreich, COSATU Western Cape Provincial Secretary, 18 May 2018