‘Infighting could see ANC collapse’

2012-09-19 00:00

COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called for “those with narrow ambitions” in the run-up to the ANC’s elective congress in Mangaung to “please hold back a bit” for the sake of unity.

Although he hasn’t mentioned names, this is one of the clearest indications yet that the labour federation will not throw its weight behind anybody challenging President Jacob Zuma in December.

Some in the ANC have already indicated that they want to see Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe pitted against Zuma.

Delivering Cosatu’s secretariat political report at the second day of Cosatu’s congress yesterday, Vavi said Cosatu averted a fight on Monday when it unanimously nominated the incumbent national office bearers to serve a second term.

“We hope that the ANC will be inspired by our example yesterday. We hope the movement will be inspired by the majority demonstrated by Cosatu.”

He said the worst thing that could have happened was for delegates to arrive and resort to “fighting all the time without thinking what is best for the movement”.

He said that if the alliance went to Mangaung fighting, they would emerge with their energy and the alliance’s programme in tatters “with people who say they are the walking wounded and they will not campaign with us in 2014”.

He said unity in Mangaung would prevent a “downward slide”.

Infighting could see the ANC collapse, which would also mean that Cosatu members would suffer.

Later in his report, which took almost three hours to deliver, Vavi said the labour federation would make a decision about whom to support in Mangaung, and that would bind all Cosatu’s leaders.

A decision about whom to back would follow “political analysis” rather than “irrational discussions”.

Cosatu has about 500 000 members who are also ANC members, which means about half of the ANC’s members are Cosatu members.

The congress, which is running about half a day behind schedule, is set to discuss its resolutions and organisational report today, and wrap up tomorrow.

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