ANC crushes Cosatu bid

2009-12-06 09:12

A TOP-secret lobbying document put forward by Cosatu’s leaders at

the recent alliance summit was ­rejected by the ruling party.

This has led to a fresh row in the alliance as the union federation

­alleges that President Jacob ­Zuma’s ANC is being hijacked by a conservative


Fed-up ANC leaders have ­accused the Cosatu general secretary,

Zwelinzima Vavi, of trying to shift policy formulation from the ANC to the

tripartite alliance, where both the federation and the South African Communist

Party (SACP) wield more power.

Vavi raised the ire of ANC ­national executive committee (NEC)

members when he presented a 24-page document at last month’s alliance summit

that ­suggested that policies and deployment should be determined by the

alliance, not by the ANC alone.

The ANC rejected the document, titled “Draft alliance programme of

action for fundamental transformation of society”.

“A qualitative shift in our ­politics and practice will entail a

functioning alliance that determines strategy and deployment jointly,” the

document read.

It also called for the creation of “apparatus to manage the

­day-to-day affairs of the alliance”, something ANC leaders saw as ­referring to

a governing structure parallel to the party’s national working committee


The document noted that the tensions in the alliance were caused by

how its role was conceptualised, its relationship to the state and how it should

jointly ­carry out its programmes.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the next alliance summit,

expected to take place in February, would clarify what the alliance actually was


“There are issues around that particular document and these are

attended to,” Mthembu said.

An NEC leader said the ANC would not allow a situation to develop

where it determined policy jointly with Cosatu and the SACP.

“Actually they are alleging that the centre is not holding, meaning

that the ANC is failing to lead and therefore there is a need for a new

political centre,” the member said.

“This is not new. It all has to do with the co-determination in

­government by the other alliance partners, the SACP and Cosatu. They want

cabinet not to account to the NEC.

“This will create serious problems for the ANC leadership.

“The ANC goes into government on the basis of its manifesto. Our

manifesto is a translation of conference resolutions. If you do something

outside that manifesto it means that you are departing from ANC policy.”

Another NEC leader said it was highly likely that Cosatu drafted

the document in consultation with the SACP. Internationally communist parties

have either died, reformed or changed names, the NEC member said, adding that

the SACP wanted to reform itself ­within the ANC.

Cosatu was complaining that there were not enough outright left

leaders in the NEC and that the ANC top six could no longer be relied on. The

federation realised that there were efforts to curtail its influence on the ANC.

Cosatu ­believed this was a threat to the ­implementation of the worker-friendly

policies adopted at the ­watershed Polokwane conference in 2007.

In its political report released last Monday, Cosatu said: “It is

clear that there is a realignment of forces in the NEC, with a new tendency

emerging. The NWC might have turned more conservative and less accommodative.

There is a growing tendency to use the rooi gevaar and the usual anti-Cosatu,

anti-union rhetoric.”

The realisation that Cosatu could not rely on the ANC’s top six

came as the battle for leadership positions in the ANC gained momentum in the

run-up to the 2012 national conference. Although there was consensus that Zuma

and his deputy, Kgalema Motlanthe, should serve two terms, the same could not be

said of ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who might face stiff opposition

from supporters of Deputy Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

“It is clear that if we place all our eggs in the top-six basket we

will lose the fight. Signs are emerging that the conservatives may just

­establish a new power bloc outside the top six and isolate it,” the report


Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven refused to comment, while SACP

general secretary Blade Nzimande said those who used the “rooi gevaar flag”

wanted to use the state to enrich themselves, which the SACP would not


“Those people want to accumulate wealth and they see us as an

obstacle. They want to try and capture and convert the ANC and the alliance into

an instrument to access state power and access wealth in society,” Nzimande


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