Vavi warns poor will revolt

2012-07-03 00:00

COSATU wanted a radical economic shift to the left and saw no need to quibble over terminology, its general-secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said yesterday.

He was referring to the semantics around a “second phase of transition” rather than a “second transition”, which was adopted as part of the ANC’s strategy and tactics recommendations last week.

Speaking at Cosatu’s KZN provincial congress, Vavi said the real issue remained “a radical shift to the left”, which he maintained was the only way to deal with the crisis of inequality, poverty and unemployment in the country.

He presented figures to show that income inequality had increased across the board in South Africa.

Unemployment continued to rise and Africans, particularly African women, remained the poorest.

Vavi said the “second phase of the transition” would be a hollow slogan if it did not address these issues.

Malaysia did not do so and was woken up by race riots in 1969, he added

Vavi said there was talk of South Africa sitting on a ticking time bomb and that if the current situation persisted the poor would revolt.

“We will be sitting in our conferences, dancing and divided and playing factional games.

“The poor will enter the conference halls in their broken shoes and with their broken hearts and ask what have we been doing about their future and about all our the broken promises,” he said.

Cosatu was grateful that finally it had a government and a ruling party that recognised the country was facing a national crisis.

He said this was a welcome move “from the denialism of a few years ago”.

However, he warned that if the factionalism in the ANC continued it would derail the process. Vavi said he wished he had spoken before ANC member Wandile Mkhize had been gunned down on the South Coast.

“This is how far we have deteriorated … factionalism and bloody violence.”

Vavi said that while ANC members were at each other’s throats, the Democratic Alliance was knocking at the doors of voters.

He said the forthcoming Cosatu congress would answer one central and practical question in terms of the second phase of the transition — “what should be the content of the change we seek to achieve”.


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