Cosatu: The centre is not holding

2017-05-28 06:00

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Cosatu is appealing for ANC national executive members to use their “conscience” to remove President Jacob Zuma.

The giant federation has also lamented rogue government deployees who are seemingly no longer accountable to the ANC.

In a frank interview with City Press ahead of Cosatu’s three-day sitting of its central committee this week, second deputy president Zingiswa Losi painted a grim picture for workers in a South Africa led by Zuma.

The central committee sitting serves as a midterm review for Cosatu, which will head to its next conference in 2018. The central committee allows the federation to take stock of its wins and losses since its last conference.

With relations in the tripartite alliance at an all time low, Cosatu has vowed to continue calling for the president to step down.

“There are those with a conscience in the ANC. Remember there are those who tabled a motion of no confidence last year? We are calling on those who supported the motion of no confidence to really put the country first,” Losi said.

“We respect [the fact] that branches of the ANC will ultimately elect its leaders in the conference of the ANC. But the reason we have an interest in who leads the ANC is because the ANC is the leader of the alliance and we are members of the alliance.

“Also, voters who are not ANC in the branches but constitute the 62% that put the ANC in government, have a right to speak to the ANC. The ANC would not be in government if it were only to be voted for by the branches that go to conference.”

Pointing to the recall of former president Thabo Mbeki, Losi said: “It is not going to be a new thing. It has happened before and the NEC [national executive committee] took the position. We are not saying the NEC must recall the president of the ANC if they say it can only be the congress that does that – but as the head of state, at least there we know they can do it because they did it with Thabo.”

The second deputy president said that while some in the ANC think that the rand could easily be picked up, this is not the case. Workers will be the casualty of a falling rand; and junk status and recovery will take at least 10 years.

Following a special sitting of its central executive committee this past Monday, Cosatu expressed scepticism at the buzz concept of radical economic transformation and cast doubt as to the independence of national treasury.

“We are concerned that there is no framework on paper regarding radical economic transformation.

“How will it be implemented; how will it transform the economy?

“You need to be able to go to implementers of law and say: ‘this is what we expect’.”

On national treasury, Losi explained that year after year ministries – particularly those dealing with social services – have failed to carry out the mandate prescribed to them through the ANC’s manifesto, because they were told by Treasury that there were no funds.

“At some point we were told there is an adviser who is not even in SA, who is advising the National Treasury. You can’t use a non-South African who is not even in the country to come and tell Treasury how they should be spending and what the priorities are,” she said.

Losi pointed to a lack of political will in government.

“We go to the policy conference, we attend the alliance summit and we attend the lekgotlas. We will be part of the commissions where we make our input on what we think should be a policy direction. It is as if there is a disjuncture between what is agreed to in the ANC within its structures – and the cadres deployed to government.

“What is expected is that those who are deployed in government should account to the ANC. But we see vice versa; it is no longer the dog wagging the tail but the tail wagging the dog. The centre is not holding. The centre does not know what is going on; the centre wakes up in the morning and gets surprised that there is such a move,” she added, alluding to Eskom and the decision to reappoint CEO Brian Molefe.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cosatu  |  anc nec

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