Cosatu vs ANC – A tale of two congresses

2012-09-22 16:54

Cosatu’s elective congress was dubbed a mini-Mangaung, but Mandy Rossouw and Carien du Plessis found major differences between the way the two organisations play host.

1. Security
At ANC conferences, even regional ones, security guards want everything from you but a urine sample before you’re allowed inside – even if you have accreditation.

Cosatu’s security guards, on the other hand, are happy if you just put your bag through the scanner.

In fact, they’ll help you carry your bag if it’s too heavy.

2. Accreditation
At ANC conferences, the accreditation process has been known to drive journalists to tears.

At Cosatu, it’s simple and straightforward, and you even get a smile from the official who hands you your tag.

3. Parking
At ANC conferences, the parking allocated to journalists is usually kilometres away from the venue – sometimes in the adjacent suburb.

For Cosatu, a parking spot for one is a parking spot for all.

4. Bodyguards

No ANC conference would be complete without those nervous men in black with wires extending from their ears, staring into the middle distance.

Cosatu’s leaders seem to feel more secure and didn’t bother to bring any heavies – unless their bodyguards were disguised as delegates.

5. Hair and beauty
There were far fewer weaves and wigs at the Cosatu congress than at an average ANC gathering.

Ditto make-up, designer heels and lip gloss.

Clearly, for South Africa’s working women, socialism comes before grooming.

6. Food

Only a red velvet rope demarcated the VIP area in the restaurant at the Cosatu congress, but no one was manning it.

The VIPs eat the same pap, veggies and meat as rank-and-file members.

At ANC conferences, the VVIPs get treated to meals like boeuf bourguignon and coq au vin.

And they get dessert with every meal, not just at dinner.

7. All in the open
At ANC conferences journalists are herded like sheep in and out of sessions, and not all discussions are open.

The Cosatu congress was one long open session, and the stories coming from the congress were more accurate and balanced because we could hear everything for ourselves.

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