Vavi warns against ‘predatory elite’

2010-12-10 12:55

The state and society will be up for sale if current battles for tenders by the “predatory elite” continues, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said today.

“If the current trajectory continues, the entire state and society will be up for sale to the highest bidder,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the 3rd yearly congress of the Young Communist League (YCL) in Mafikeng, North West.

Given that state procurement was massive – over R800 billion for infrastructure over 3 years – the country was “facing a huge challenge”.

No one would be able to do business without going through “corrupt gatekeepers” in future, Vavi warned, urging the league to fight corruption.

“Once this becomes the norm, we will have become a predator state.”

He said a small group within the tripartite alliance was blackening the reputation of the liberation movement.

“This minority seeks to import rotten and corrupt capitalist morality to our organisations and state.”

The extent to which corruption had “infected” organisations and society was shown by the emergence of death squads in several provinces, and the murder of people who had taken a stand.

It also showed in the “open” way prominent figures, linked to political leaders, manipulated BEE provisions in questionable business deals; and in organisational factions being about tenders and not ideology.

On criticism he has received – including from ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe – about recent statements he has made, Vavi said the alliance, which he called “sacrosanct”, should be allowed to debate issues, and, when there were differences, they shouldn’t “devour” each other.

“Let us not go back to using labels and trying to isolate and politically murder one another, as if there is no tomorrow.”

Cosatu needed the league’s elders, the SA Communist Party (SACP), and it would be tremendously weakened if they allowed differences to grow, or for the public trading of insults.

“Our critique of our vanguard must never be treated with the same disdain as the criticism emanating from right-wing organisations.”

Cosatu was also concerned about the absence of full-time officials at national and provincial levels within the SACP, as this would hamper their programme of radical transformation.

“This is an honest view, dear comrades, informed by our love of the SACP, not by any newly-found hatred or disdain for our party,” he said.

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