Vavi agrees that ANC is in crisis

2011-06-27 14:47

Labour federation Cosatu’ general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi today agreed with President Jacob Zuma’s assessment that the ANC was in crisis.

“I agree with the president,” he said on the sidelines of Cosatu’s central committee meeting in Midrand. He declined to elaborate, advising the media to listen to his secretariat report, before realising that the session in which the report is to be delivered tomorrow was closed to the media.

In a copy of the report distributed to delegates, Vavi described the past three-and-a-half years as “probably... the most dynamic and volatile” in South African politics.

He said a “powerful, corrupt, predatory elite combined with a conservative populist agenda to harness the ANC to advance their interests” had emerged during this period.

He also referred to the development of “political paralysis” in the state and the ANC’s alliance with Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP).

“In other words, we have seen intensification of ongoing contestation within the alliance, the ANC and the state, unfolding deepening contradictions, and wild zig-zagging in the political direction of the country,” Vavi said in the report.

He said Zuma had responded to the political debates unfolding in the country.

Zuma, who attended the meeting, used it to reiterate the stance of the government and the ANC on mine nationalisation and land reform, which was raised by ANC Youth League president Julius Malema at its elective conference earlier this month.

Vavi said that Cosatu would assess the ANC’s leadership during the four-day meeting, but would not pronounce on the matter as it was “not appropriate”.

In the secretariat report, he said Cosatu had made a “mistake” in focusing on the ANC’s top-six leaders at its last elective conference and leaving the national executive committee (NEC) – the ANC’s top decision-making body – “for others to decide on”.

He said Zuma and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe should be defended when the ANC elected new leaders in 2012. The ANCYL wants them replaced.

“Currently, the only people running a campaign for the removal of the two are the elements of the new class of tenderpreneurs,” Vavi said in the report.

“If they succeed in this campaign, the ANC as we have known it will be history.”

He warned that there was a risk that “the very country will be sold to the highest bidder”.

“Anything which is done by these comrades [Zuma and Mantashe] or ourselves to deepen their vulnerability to attack must be avoided.”

Vavi also warned, in the secretariat report, that this faction may retain Zuma, but surround him with a “right-wing NEC to corrode his political support base” and “ultimately pull the carpet from under his feet”.

He criticised the ANC’s current leadership for committing mistakes which had made it “difficult for Cosatu to effectively mobilise support of its constituency”.

“Some actions by the ANC leadership have tended to discredit itself and have unnecessarily placed itself in opposition to Cosatu,” he said.

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