‘Less fighting and more talking’

2017-04-09 06:00
Sdumo Dlamini

Sdumo Dlamini

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Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini has urged ANC-led alliance leaders to end their public spats, saying they send the wrong message to the nation.

Dlamini said current political tensions were so palpable that it was possible – in the heat of the moment – to make decisions that could “unwittingly feed” into a regime-change agenda.

His comments came amid heightened divisions in the tripartite alliance, with three of the ANC’s top six officials publicly speaking out against President Jacob Zuma’s decision to reshuffle his Cabinet and to remove Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.

“Our own weaknesses contribute to this programme because we are fighting one another. No matter how angry we are, you don’t fall into the agenda of those who want to remove the ANC government,” he said, adding that this was the last thing the electorate needed to witness at a time when the ANC should be working towards “not losing” the 2019 elections.

“People want to see leaders dealing with issues and we can’t be giving the public the impression that we are fighting among ourselves all the time. We should stop fighting,” he told City Press this week.

“We tell the country that we are united, but, in practice, we do something else. The ANC can’t afford rhetoric about unity. It must be practical. [The alliance] has to close ranks,” he said.

Dlamini and his deputy, Bheki Ntshalintshali, came face to face with Zuma this week after he asked for a meeting to explain himself after the reshuffle.

Leaders in the Cosatu central executive committee were livid that Zuma had failed to consult the federation about his plans, and they called for his resignation.

This is the second time Cosatu has made the call, with the first decision made at the federation’s central executive committee meeting.

City Press heard that a view in Cosatu to wait before calling on Zuma to go was squashed by the majority. Instead, the meeting endorsed Cyril Ramaphosa as its presidential candidate.

Cosatu also considered breaking away from the alliance and lobbying the SA Communist Party (SACP) to, for the first time, contest elections on its own in 2019.

Dlamini, seen as an ardent Zuma supporter, did not divulge details of the meeting with the president, which took place a day after Cosatu publicly called on him to resign. He said it was only fair to hear Zuma’s side of the story.

Dlamini acknowledged that divisions in the alliance could not be resolved through short cuts or quick-fix solutions, but that leaders should speak frankly to one another.

He said the ANC should ensure the alliance leadership was a united force, and should address the concerns of the working class and the poor.

Dlamini said this was the reason Cosatu chose not to join Friday’s marches across the country, despite the fact that the SACP had encouraged its members to join the marches organised by Save SA, which is considered to be a regime-change organisation by some within the alliance.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  sdumo dlamini

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