Some are right to be aggrieved about ANC candidate lists – Vavi

2011-04-05 13:37

Some ANC members who complained about the ANC candidate list process had reason to be aggrieved, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said today.

“It is true that in some cases, popular candidates of the people have fallen victim to the powerful cliques who have appointed themselves gatekeepers. It is true that in some cases guidelines have been side stepped and frustrated,” Vavi said in an address prepared for delivery at a National Union of Metal Workers’ of SA (Numsa) conference.

“In some cases political space is monopolised by those who have money.”

He said some people “capitalised” on the “structural barriers” which prevented many ANC members from taking part in processes at branch level.

Vavi’s comments come after widespread protests by disgruntled members over the ANC’s candidate lists shortly before the final lists were due for submission to the Independent Electoral Commission.

The ANC was even taken to court by three regions in the Eastern Cape over dissatisfaction with the list process.

“There are many who still use money and networks as a stepladder to holding political office. In the context of rising poverty and desperation, many of those who are interested in nothing but upward class mobility use this as a way to buy votes and community members and therefore buy their way to political office,” Vavi said.

He said the ANC and its allies had to be “open about these things” in order to reverse this practice.

Vavi condemned those who opted to stand as independent candidates after failing to make it onto ANC lists.

“This is opportunism of the highest order that seeks to divide the loyalties of our people. The capitalist culture of individualism has crept in our movement and people are unwilling to accept any outcome that does not favour them.”

He urged Numsa organisers and shopstewards to ensure that all workers voted for the ANC.

“We are doing this for our own interests. We say this because we firmly believe that it is only under the ANC that we can fight and be victorious over market fundamentalism, class exploitation as well as national and gender oppression.

“We must be ruthless in our rejection of DA policies, which aim to reduce the cost of doing business for capitalists whilst further impoverishing the working class and further dividing us.”

He said a major campaign for workers was to hold the multinational corporations to account.

Cosatu opposed multinationals who sought to erode advances made by workers.

“The campaign against Walmart, which has no regard for local procurement and workers’ rights, must be heightened.

We will need to hear all your voices as we say that we will not accept a race to the bottom in terms of worker’s wages, employment conditions and that we will not accept further deindustrialisation and job losses that will come with the entry of Walmart into our economy.

“To everyone who cares to listen we say, yes we want foreign investments and we know the connection between this and our ability to create jobs and liberate ourselves from poverty, but we also know that a good investment must really gives us a potential to create jobs and crush poverty.”

He again called on the Competition Tribunal not to approve the Walmart takeover of Massmart without conditions.

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