Vavi to deliver key report

2011-06-28 07:00

Labour federation Cosatu’s secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi is expected to deliver a hard-hitting political report at the federation’s central committee today.

Delegates from Cosatu’s 33 affiliate unions representing some two million workers would debate the report as the second day of the gathering unfolds.

In a copy of the secretariat report distributed to delegates, Vavi said after Polokwane it seemed the challenges of the previous period were overcome. Cosatu was instrumental in President Jacob Zuma’s ousting of former president Thabo Mbeki whom the alliance partners blamed for deep divisions between them and the ANC.

However, in the secretariat report, Vavi said perceptions that all was well after Polokwane “was to misjudge the extent of contestation, and different agendas, both within the ANC and the state”.

Vavi described the past three-and-a-half years as “the most dynamic and volatile” in South African politics. The report read that a “powerful, corrupt, predatory elite combined with a conservative populist agenda to harness the ANC to advance their interests” had emerged during this period.

It refers to the development of “political paralysis” in the state and the ANC’s alliance with Cosatu and the SA Communist Party. “In other words, we have seen intensification of ongoing contestation within the alliance, the ANC and the state, unfolding deepening contradictions, and wild zig-zagging in the political direction of the country,” the report read.

Yesterday, Vavi said that Cosatu would assess the ANC’s leadership during the four-day meeting, but would not pronounce on the matter as it was “not appropriate”.

In the secretariat report, he said Cosatu had made a “mistake” in focusing on the ANC’s top six leaders at its last elective conference and leaving the national executive committee (NEC) – the ANC’s top decision-making body – “for others to decide on”.

He said Zuma and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe should be defended when the ANC elected new leaders next year. The youth league wants them replaced.

“Currently, the only people running a campaign for the removal of the two are the elements of the new class of tenderpreneurs,” Vavi said in the report.

“If they succeed in this campaign, the ANC as we have known it will be history.” He warned of a risk that “the very country would be sold to the highest bidder”.

“Anything which is done by these comrades [Zuma and Mantashe] or ourselves to deepen their vulnerability to attack must be avoided.”

Vavi also warned, in the secretariat report, that this faction may retain Zuma, but surround him with a “right-wing NEC to corrode his political support base” and “ultimately pull the carpet from under his feet”.

He also criticised the ANC’s current leadership for committing mistakes which had made it “difficult for Cosatu to effectively mobilise support of its constituency”.

“Some actions by the ANC leadership have tended to discredit itself and have unnecessarily placed itself in opposition to Cosatu,” he said.

Vavi, in the report, calls for an internal discussion on the ANC’s insistence that it, and not the alliance, was the “strategic centre of power”.

“In our view, it is a contradiction for the ANC to say the ANC leads a revolutionary alliance but that the alliance led by the ANC is not the strategic political centre”.

Vavi’s report would be delivered behind closed doors today, in a session closed to the media to facilitate “frank debate” on it. Proceedings were set to kick off with an address from SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande.


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