Press Statement dated 7 February 2017

COSATU denounces the African Union (AU)’s outrageous decision to readmit Morocco as a member state of the organisation after over three decades of its withdrawal in protest of the admittance of Western Sahara.

The AU’s readmission of Morocco is not only a slap in the face of the people of Sahrawi, but also a huge slur and a breach of the AU’s constitutive act mainly the principle on state sovereignty.

This decision of the AU is worse than regrettable. COSATU expresses its continued support for Western Sahara and calls for the independence of the country from Morocco.

It is absurd that while Sahrawi people continue to suffer under an unwarranted and unjustifiable occupation of their land, the AU is in the same breath of opposing colonial rule over another by another granting Morocco membership in the African organization.

This is highly contradictive and displays hypocrisy and none-commitment of the AU to its standards and supposed values. Leaves one wondering if this was a genuine vote or a puppet vote to serve external interests. A lot is left to be desired.  

This also serves to question how the AU sets its precedence in the setting it is believed to be guarding, as this pronouncement does not address the occupation of Sahrawi Republic which is a full member of the AU but instead sets a rhetoric that Morocco’s colonisation of the Republic is justified.

COSATU is perplexed at this seeming amnesiac behaviour of Africa, as from the colonial struggles the continent went through, it is highly inconceivable to see the same continent endorsing colonialism of a state by another.

However COSATU calls for an introspection of the AU and ask for it to set clear boundaries on where its priorities lie. We further call for support from all organizations to rally behind Western Sahara in efforts to reject this decision which blurs the future of Sahrawi and widely breaks as a hindrance and a delay for Western Sahara to gain its independence.   

Following our meeting with POLISARIO Front leadership early this month, COSATU recommissioned to ensure a strong solidarity movement is built in South Africa to intensify the struggles of the Saharawi people and all people suffering occupation and colonial aggression as Western Sahara.

It is in this regard that COSATU applauds Southern Africa at large for its collective vote against the readmission of Morocco. The federation also pledges to support measures including campaigns that will see the people of Western Sahara free from the inhumane occupation.

It is therefore imperative that we immerse ourselves as continent in this struggle for the genuine transformation of the African socio-economic factors.

Issued by Bongani Masuku, International Relations Secretary, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)