ANC fights its political battles, Mantashe tells Cosatu

2015-03-30 18:05

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ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe has urged Cosatu not to fight the ANC’s political battles and use this as a basis for dividing the embattled federation.

Mantashe said this in the light of reports that the expelled Cosatu affiliate, Numsa, was forming a political party known as the United Front and withdrawing its support of the ANC – something believed to have influenced a decision to expel the metal workers union from the federation.

Speaking at a post-NEC press briefing in Johannesburg today, Mantashe asked Cosatu to leave political matters for the ANC to tackle.

“When we met them as the ANC we explained to them that ‘listen, don’t make the issue of not supporting the ANC or United Front a Cosatu issue. It’s not a Cosatu issue,’” said Mantashe.

“Leave that to us; we’ll meet the United Front out there in the trenches. We’re a political party… many people broke away, splintered and formed parties (and) we meet them there.

“It can’t be an issue that is a basis for dividing a federation. Don’t fight over a new mentality that does not support the ANC in the federation and divide it. Leave that to us; we’ll deal with it out there.”

Mantashe said the problems Cosatu is faced with now are not different form those it faced in the late 80s and early 90s.

“The only difference is the limited experience in the leadership to deal with dynamics of an organisation that is liberal. Managing federal organisations requires experience in terms of dealing with that federal character of the organisation and the diversity of ideas,” he said.

Mantashe spoke out strongly against the expulsion of Numsa which he emphasised was “wrong”. He said, however, it was not a good thing that Numsa wanted to organise across sectors in a federation with a policy of “one union, one sector”.

Mantashe encouraged Cosatu to talk to Numsa and ask them to “revisit its position (on being a general union) and (for the federation itself) to revisit its position to expel Numsa”.

“Numsa must be brought back but it must not be brought back unconditionally. It can’t come back and be a general union,” he said.

“Expelling Numsa was an extreme decision. We say don’t expel Numsa (but) Numsa can’t be doing things with impunity where there are rules.”

Meanwhile, Mantashe announced at the press briefing that the NEC had resolved to postpone the National General Council which was set for June 26 to 29. The NGC will now be held on October 9 to 12.

He said this was to allow the party to divide resources for the successful hosting of its league conferences. The Women’s League conference will be held on April 16 to 19 followed by the Veterans’ League on May 29 to 31. The ANC Youth League’s conference will be held in June.

“We can’t have the NGC and the Youth League conference in June. The NGC was postponed so that we can have enough resources (for the NGC at a later stage),” he said.

Meanwhile, Mathole Motshekga, Dipuo Peters, Regina Mahaule and Fikile Mbalula were co-opted into the NEC at a meeting held in Cape Town over the weekend.

They were brought in to close vacancies left by the deaths of Collins Chabane, Sisi Mabe, Nosipho Ntwanambi and the resignation of Pallo Jordan.

Sisi Ntombela and David Mahlobo joined the national working committee in places of Chabane and Mabe.

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