Elections a wake-up call for ANC - Vavi
Johannesburg - The 2011 local government elections were a "huge wake-up call" for the ANC, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.
"The writing is on the wall, read and act. If there is one message that we should heed from these elections, it is that the national liberation symbolism and history will eventually wane and mean nothing to a hungry stomach," Vavi told the National Union of Mineworkers' central committee meeting in Boksburg.
He said people had lost faith in their leaders and wanted a movement that would improve their lives. Vavi said "the people" "hated" factionalism and division which "consume all the energies of leaders".
They had spoken out against inefficiency in the government caused by "slate politics" that overlooked "talented individuals in favour of those who come from the more powerful factions."
People were tired of "endless leadership contests".
"They have told us they are not preoccupied with [the ANC's leadership elections in] 2012, but with their plight.
"They have told us they hate corruption with passion, for they know it is all about stealing from them, the poor, to feed the elite with political connections. They told us they are tired of seeing us displaying our opulence in expensive parties and weddings whilst they starve to death."
Vavi said campaigning for the elections had been an "uphill battle" in the face of high levels of poverty and inequality.
"... there will always be readily available opportunist parties like the DA willing to prey on our people's hopes and aspirations for a better life, including appropriation of the liberation symbols that they rejected not so long ago."
The Democratic Alliance, in campaigning for the 2011 polls, said the ANC had abandoned the values of former president Nelson Mandela, and campaigned in strongholds of ANC support, like Soweto.
But the ANC managed to emerge on top, garnering 62% of the vote.
"Even so, we need to start asking tough questions after these elections. The people have given us a clear and categorical message: Their vote is not unconditional."
He said Cosatu looked forward to the ANC's probe into possible fraudulent appointments of councillors.