Alliance 'must regain moral authority'
Midrand - The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) and its allies, the African National Congress (ANC) and the SA Communist Party (SACP), must return to their position as the moral authority of South African politics, says the union movement's assessment of the 2011 local elections.
Released on Monday at the opening of Cosatu's fifth central committee meeting, the May 2011 Local Government Election Assessment makes some pointed comments about internal organisational weaknesses.
Although the ANC (the senior member of the so-called tripartite alliance) won 63% of the vote, and, as the report said, remained an extremely popular brand and performed well despite contrary predictions, the report described the ANC's victory as "remarkable" as it occurred in the context of mass revolts in Arab countries aiming to rid themselves of undemocratic and unpopular governments.
In addition, many political parties around the world that had presided over the recent economic crisis had been swept from power. The ANC was re-elected in many constituencies despite the socioeconomic challenges that continued to "bedevil SA".
The report stated: "Despite being projected as an inept and corrupt organisation, it is evident that many of our people still have faith in the ANC."
The assessment said the official opposition political party, the Democratic Alliance (DA), had made large gains, mainly at the expense of the smaller parties, such as the Freedom Front Plus, and had begun to absorb the Independent Democrats.
The DA won 23% of the total vote and carried Cape Town and most of the municipalities in the Western Cape, while the ANC could only muster 30% of that province's total vote.
It said the DA ran a "smart campaign", by appropriating the legacy of the struggle and by claiming some of the struggle icons.
"In addition the DA is seeking to position itself as a party that can take forward those traditions and build an inclusive society based on the ideals of the constitution.
They realised that the 'swart gevaar' and the 'fight back' campaign simply failed to attract black voters to support their white and pro-business message, which is based on the protection of the privileges inherited from the apartheid system," the assessment said.
According to the analysis, the DA did strike a chord with many of Cosatu's members.
"This may be one of the reasons why we are losing the middle strata and the minorities that have historically supported our movement."