Dream on – Thulas Nxesi on a workers’ party

2013-10-25 15:43

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Those who are calling for a workers’ party are daydreaming, Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi has said.

Addressing delegates of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) national general council today, he said: “Those who are calling for a workers’ party are daydreaming. Workers believe in the ANC, Cosatu and SA Communist Party (SACP) alliance. They were defeated a long time ago and they will still be defeated this time around still,” he said.

Nxesi was responding to rumours that labour federation Cosatu is headed for a split, which will result in the formation of a workers’ party.

Following the suspension of Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi in August, the federation has been troubled, with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) threatening to leave.

Numsa, under the leadership of its general secretary, Irvin Jim, will host a special congress in December to decide its future. Rumours that a workers’ party will result from the anticipated split within Cosatu are gaining momentum.

On the state of Cosatu, Nxesi said: “The SACP reaffirms the critical importance of trade union independence. We need a militant and robust trade union movement – not a conveyor belt of the alliance partners or of the ANC-led government.

“Militant union independence should, however, not be confused with a liberal notion of a sustained anti-governmental opposition. We call on Cosatu to get its house in order, but it is Cosatu itself that must do this.”

He reminded delegates that it was the alliance as a whole that had brought down the apartheid regime. The unity of the alliance, he said, cannot be taken for granted. “It has to be guarded at all costs.”

Earlier, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba had told delegates that next year’s general elections would be a fight between the ANC and barely visible right-wing groups, many of which regroup during election time.

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