Do not shout at the ANC - Gwede Mantashe

2017-05-01 20:00
Gwede Mantashe. (Netwerk24, file)

Gwede Mantashe. (Netwerk24, file)

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Johannesburg - Don't shout at the African National Congress.

This was the message ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe had for Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), on May Day.

"The ANC listens all the time, but the ANC listens if you talk to it. It does not listen if shout at it. If you stand at a distance and shout, it does not listen.

"If you go to a structure of the federation and take a serious resolution but you don't go to the ANC and tell it that we have resolved that you need to tell your president to step down. But you go to the media, you are not talking to the ANC, you are talking at the ANC," Mantashe said.

He was addressing hundreds of Cosatu members who marched from George Lea Park to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in Sandton to hand over a memorandum to CEO, Nicky Newtown-King.

AS IT HAPPENED: Vavi: Rest in peace, you ANC alliance

United alliance

The message comes as calls for President Jacob Zuma to resign continue to grow. The federation has publicly said that it was not happy with Zuma's administration and that he should step down.

Mantashe also said unity between the ANC and its alliance partners was paramount.

"When the alliance is united, things happen, when the alliance is divided and fighting amongst itself, it destroys the gains it has made, it was a united alliance that changed the labour relations outlook of this country in terms of the laws passed."

Mantashe said the alliance fought side by side, shoulder to shoulder, to improve the Labour Relations Act, Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act, among other laws.

He said the achievement of the minimum wage was the work of a united alliance.

"If we are divided then all the gains will go down the drain. Unity is important not only for the alliance but for the ANC as well. We are going through a very difficult time, factions are strong and they are undermining the African National Congress."

Mantashe said when factionalism was combined with corruption, it will result in "what I call accidental leadership succession debate. Then we have a situation where people who are leaders are people who have money. They go around distributing money and after you have elected leadership, we all ask ourselves, who is this person, and it is too late by then, we have already chosen them."

He said Cosatu often made a mistake in thinking that problems in the ANC were only problems of the ANC.

"Problems in the ANC are problems of the alliance… it is not about whether we love each other or not, we are stuck together, we belong together, we have shared trenches together and we should not be questioned."

New labour federations

He said in recent times, it had become fashionable to insult the ANC.

"The media will follow you immediately and raise your profile immediately. We must desist from that and Cosatu has a duty and an obligation to defend the ANC… I can assure you now, if the ANC is weak, Cosatu is weak."

He said the biggest threat to Cosatu today was the surfacing of new labour federations.

"They are not just there; they are there to undermine you. You must wake up."

He told Cosatu leaders to go out and organise workers.

"JSE is a project of sweating people, yourselves, you are paid low wages, but generate billions in profit. A strong Cosatu will always influence decisions."

He called on Cosatu to rededicate itself to building stronger unions because industrial unions had collapsed over the years.

"NUM is half of what it used to be. We will work with Cosatu to revive industrial unions; if we don't, Cosatu will walk on one leg."

'Looting, corruption, factionalism'

Mantashe said trade unions are used to intervene in a capitalist society.

"If there are weak trade unions, capitalists will have free reign."

He called on Cosatu to work with the ANC in fighting factionalism so that it could have a "good" conference in December.

"People are asking why Cosatu is all of a sudden interested in the leadership battle of the ANC and I tell them any worker that not part of the congress is a bad worker; these workers, I assume are congress members, therefore you have a right to know what comes out of the congress."

He said: "We are not going to stop being Guptarised if we do not come out with solid leadership in December. If we come up with leadership that tells society that looting is continuing, in the form of the leadership that we elect, I can tell you now that we might as well kiss 2019 goodbye."

He said it was in the workers interest not to kiss 2019 goodbye.

"It is in your interest that you help the ANC rediscover itself. We will not get solutions to our current problem in the resolutions made in Morogoro. Today, the biggest problem is looting, corruption, factionalism and nepotism. We must come with the solutions for those problems today."

He said solutions would only come if the ANC and alliance partners worked together.

Cyril Ramaphosa presidency

Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali again said the federation movement endorsed deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa, to be the next president.

"The alliance and the leadership needs to treat us with respect, they must listen when we talk. When we go into elections they shake our hands, they bow down and mingle with us but when we have elected them, we see the men in black suits around them, they cannot even speak to them," he said.

Ntshalintshali said: "Yes, we were together in Polokwane, we did the unusual and we elected him, and now they have reminded us that we elected them. Today we are doing it again, we chose him in Polokwane and we are going to elect him in December."

He said workers want Cyril Ramaphosa to be the next president.

"We know that we are stepping on toes because they are asking what about them, we want Cyril; the rest will follow."

He said Ramaphosa was the perfect candidate because he was the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers.

"He loves the alliance and the he hates corruption… we also know that we cannot elect but we are putting his name forward. If he was good enough to be the deputy president, what is wrong with him being president?"

Ntshalintshali urged Cosatu members to go to branches and lobby for Ramaphosa because "in him we see a future leader".

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  gwede ­mantashe  |  cyril rama­phosa  |  politics

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