Cosatu: more questions than answers

2011-06-30 22:37

Johannesburg - Cosatu's central committee meeting closed on Thursday, with no resolutions emerging on key political and economic issues.

Cosatu did not take decisions on whether or not the to open talks on the ANC's election of new leadership next year, or on the call for nationalisation or land reform, which featured on its agenda for discussion.

The trade union federation deferred the talks to a leadership meeting in August after the central committee ran out of time and documents emerging from group discussions on the economy and politics were poorly written, said general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

"The content and style... that's why it wasn't discussed, it was going to take us in 20 different directions," he told reporters at a media briefing after the delegates were sent home.

Vavi was referring to the political document, the draft of which included nationalisation, the succession debate, and the emergence of what Cosatu termed a "new tendency" - where people used political connections for their own accumulation interests", adopting an "it's our turn to eat" stance.

"If we had time.. there would have been a discussion of all manner of things," he said, adding that this included the issue of "demagogues" in the movement.

The draft document read: "They rely on populist demagoguery politics to allow them enough political space and power to push for their accumulation agenda."


Cosatu earlier said this referred to some within the ANC Youth League.

"They seize and use popular working class issues to stir emotions of unsuspecting and disgruntled sections of the working class in society when their actual agenda is to secure power and use such power against the very working class."

The resolution suggested this group was backed by "well-resourced and powerful business and politicians".

That it did not spell out how these developments should be dealt with was part of the reason Vavi suggested that decisions on it be taken later.

Many delegates had also left before the end of the committee meeting, with the hall only half full on Thursday.

On the socio-economic resolutions, he said the committee had only 15 minutes to deal with a matter of such importance.

Vavi said the fact that there were no resolutions on the difficult and contested issued did not mean that there were divisions within the movement.

"Does that represent destructive debate or divisions?... no," he said.

Cosatu was an organisation with a culture of debate.


Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini was also emphatic on the unity of the organisation.

"This is unity of leadership," he said, with Cosatu's top leaders sitting alongside him. "I'm saying that to dispel any myth of divisions."

While Cosatu has raised the flag over the "new tendency" and "demagogues" within the youth league, its stance on nationalisation and land reform are similar to the league's.

It supports nationalisation as described in the Freedom Charter.

The federation's discussion documents on the matter also spell out the need for nationalisation of the SA Reserve Bank, and the transport and construction sectors.

Like the league, it supports expropriating private land and wants section 25 of the Constitution, the property clause, scrapped. Section 25 allows for government's acquisition of land for redistribution, with compensation.

Cosatu's central executive committee would meet in August to thrash out the unresolved issues.


The federation also warned the ANC-led government to "stop dithering" and pull up its socks.

"The central committee did not engage in potentially divisive ANC leadership debate but did issue a stark warning to the government that if they are to retain popular support they must stop dithering and zigzagging, pull their socks up and start implementing policies of the Polokwane conference and the 2009 elections [manifesto]," said Vavi.

Government had to ensure that it delivered on jobs, addressing inequality and tackling corruption as this was the yardstick which would be used to measure at election time in 2014.

If the government failed to deliver, it would be at "massive cost", said Vavi.

  • Digit - 2011-06-30 22:52

    ... and this is surprising ?? Good grief ... and these are people who influence SA's future and its leadership !!!!! Take a good and long hard look in the mirror ...... It may be the last time you see yourselves as influential.... carry on like this and you will all be living off rubbish dumps.

      crackerr - 2011-07-01 08:54

      You have just now created a new concept. Very accurate and descriptive. Saw some images of it on TV in real time in other parts of Africa. The RUBBISH DUMP ROUTE or RUBBISH DUMP ALTERNATIVE. Yes, by villifying and making war on the employer and privated enterprised they are opting for the rubbish dump route. Without employers there will be no employees and no trade unions. They are opting for the rubbish dump alternative. Voluntatily becoming rubbish dump pickers of the new elites left over throw-aways is not very bright.

  • Oom Jan - 2011-07-01 00:44

    Hahaha...!!!! This sounds like a joke, COSATU is policy flat floot, ANCYL will move forward

  • Saamprater - 2011-07-01 06:11

    This is a direct result of the NP not educating these lot. Now we have people with political power to change the face of Africa in an even more sad way than what it already is. And the sad thing is, the anc have kept the masses uneducated as well for their own selfish benefit. Is there a time when the tide will turn? Is there a time when Africa will say, "enough now" Can Africa be turned in a positive direction, ever? Where have you ever seen that land, (farms and towship property) can be taken without compensation without the economy collapsing and only the leaders sit with their loaded Swiss bank accounts? The alternative is Poll Pot style regimes or we get rid of these chameleons and set ourselves a decent set od leaders in place who understand the meaning of what "leadership and governance mean.

  • sganja - 2011-07-01 06:30

    Natinalization of mines in our life time,haha Blade must be dissapointed.Viva Ancyl Viva

      Together - 2011-07-01 09:44

      Enjoy, sganga - maybe one day you can tell your grandchildren about the olden days when there were working mines in SA. Unless you and the youth league are going to help sort out Aurora - surely that would be a great test for nationalisation?

      Steveribs - 2011-07-01 09:56

      Pity someone has not thrown you down a mine shaft. First read what educated people have to say about nationalisation. Nationalisation will result in the tax payer (and in all likelyhood you are not one) picking up the tab while a few connected cANCer members will benefit by selling the assets as scrap (metal) to China or India. Poverty is all that awaits you.

  • pugwash - 2011-07-01 07:32

    One step forward - five giant steps back!

  • theprodigy - 2011-07-01 08:08

    nohings changed 17 years down the line, questions, questions, promises, more promised, NO ANSWERS!!!

  • theprodigy - 2011-07-01 08:11

    Why doesnt the ANC govt. provide its own land without compensation, hell lets start there.

      Together - 2011-07-01 09:50

      Wow - and actually start DEVELOPING rural and tribal lands? Properly? And stop the flood of unskilled youths to the cities? Thereby easing the growing overload on water, power, road and sewage services? Are you MAD, the prodigy? That would be like ENCOURAGING the formation of more business, the proper roll-out of housing and healthcare - it would be like severely disciplining wayward teachers AND pupils - or expecting the army to paint it's own barracks and sweep it's own floors (like any other army in the world) - it would be like jailing politicians convicted and sentenced for crimes instead of lying to let them live out their long, long lives on golf courses... WHAT were you thinking?

      Gido - 2011-07-01 09:52

      The government doesn't know what land belongs to it.. they must do a audit first.. and that might take 25 years.. easier to take land from somebody else..

  • spencer bullard - 2011-07-01 08:26

    I am an Englishman who has lived in Cape Town for over 3 years. I am part owner of a company that trades internationally, and the moment anything approaching this becomes ANC policy I am shutting my doors, retrenching the employees and going back to England. I love Cape Town and the Western Cape, but this will ruin the country and unlike Zimbabwee which only had 300000 "Europeans" South Africa has 9million, so this wont result in land reforms but more likely a full blown civil war. I can only hope that the ruling ANC look at this disasterous policys results in Zim and act accordingly

      Macho Mike - 2011-07-01 08:47

      Start packing your bags now Spencer. The ANC will look at the disasterous policys results in Zimbabwe, and will follow them - land grab, nationalisation, media control,one party state etc etc. The ANC might do it more suttly, but it will be done.

      Daemos1 - 2011-07-01 15:28

      negative nancy

  • JadedJay - 2011-07-01 08:49

    'The trade union federation deferred the talks to a leadership meeting in August after the central committee ran out of time and documents emerging from group discussions on the economy and politics were poorly written...' Why am I not surprised? Also, lets have some clarification of exactly how they want the land...forcing whites off the land? Let them f@@king try. It will be the last thing they do. We did well under apartheid incl sanctions, and we will do so again.

  • Derek - 2011-07-01 09:40

    What drives the country forward economically and fills the government coffers? Easy! Private enterprise and the hard working risk taking entrepeneurs ( not tenderpreneurs!) who pay 28% tax on profits, 10% tax on dividends drawn, import tax on products and equipment brought in, personal income tax, skill development levies etc,.. and they employ people who don't have the risk. A lot of us are white, yes, but we contribute hugely to this country in so many ways. And all the ANC, ANCYL and Cosatu do is rubbish us. I employ directly and indirectly (via sub-contractors) over 70 South Africans of all races and yet my son who has a Msc is turned down for a job he sought to lesser experieced and qualified people because he is WHITE!!! He was 6 when Mandela was freed and the new South Africa started. When does this all end for goodness sake! Another hard working, patriotic South African will now leave our shores.

      MandlaSithole - 2011-07-01 11:13

      You are absolutely correct unfortunately. It's a hard pill to swallow for all of us that have been convinced that the white man is the villain. I'm sure that you will like the post by Moeletsi The President group today.┬Če_id=212170605493034#!/

  • Gido - 2011-07-01 09:49

    These tendencies to talk a lot and do nothing is really getting on my nerves..

  • sainsaudi - 2011-07-01 10:53

    I have just re-read The Freedom Charter on the ANC's website, and have come to the conclusion that these demagogues on the left do not understand their own document. They seem to assume that they are the sole representatives of the people and therefore reflect the will of the people. The document is vague in most places, and is open to interpretation, yet very clear in other places. Take, for instance, "that our people have been robbed of their birthright to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality" which can be equally applied to the present ANC, as this lobbying for nationalisation serves only to enrich the Tripartite elite, and the country still practises inequality in its AA/EE policies. Take another two clauses: "All national groups shall be protected by law against insults to their race and national pride; The preaching and practice of national, race or colour discrimination and contempt shall be a punishable crime;" Shouldn't these be debated to the fullest extent in light of the recent racist utterances by ANCYL and ANC office-bearers, and AA/EE as it is being applied today, as a cover for cadre deployment and nepotism? And the most important clause in the preamble of the Charter: "that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people;" Are they the will of the people? Start the debate here!

  • Amos Mcinga - 2011-07-01 11:17

    This is rather confusing. The ANCYL is celebrating and welcomes the decision of COSATU supporting their Nationalization programme of action. Shivambu even gave COSATU a pat at the back by saying "COSATU has shown maturity" in the alliance. I would like to see COSATU giving a press conference to clarify the matter.

  • saliem - 2011-07-01 11:33

    PLEASE HELP. I know it's not quite relevant to the article but could somebody PLEASE explain why comments posted to Fin24 (and other specialist pages of News24) are moderated before being displayed, while comments on News24 articles (such as this one) are placed immediately? Just a question... I'm curious about what seems to be selective censorship by News24.

      Daemos1 - 2011-07-01 15:30

      maybe there's just too many on n24 to moderate, specialist sites like f24 attract a asmaller audience, and they're playing to the crowd as well, a person interested in financial news may not necessarily want to look at the type of commenting that happens here

  • bob - 2011-07-01 11:38

    1, 2, 3, hello retards!

  • LBS - 2011-07-01 16:37

    "Poorly written"? Why? Because they have no brains!

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