As it happened: There's still hope for Cosatu and Numsa - ANC

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe during the press conference at Luthuli House. (Photo: Cornel van Heerden )
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe during the press conference at Luthuli House. (Photo: Cornel van Heerden )
Last Updated

10 Nov 2014

Morwape Patjane (@morwape_daStrat) tweeted: "The ANC is too reactionary under Mantashe, the least they could do was avoiding the mud-slinging in COSATU...now Gwede is preaching!!!"

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Alliance came out of the struggle, no return agreement between parties... alliance of good faith, utmost faith.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Alliance has no rule book or constitution. It is run on good faith. Runs on need to work together. Struggle did not end in 1994.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Life of alliance not determined by time frame... no agreement, no permanence, because there is no agreement.

10 Nov 2014

Brendan von Essen (@BrendanvonEssen) tweeted: "Did Gwede Mantashe just hint that the alliance is over? So not till the second coming then?"

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Alliance cannot exist on disagreement.

10 Nov 2014

Sean Parker (@Spaga23) tweeted: "Gwede thinks by distancing the ANC from the breakdown in the alliance it won't affect them as badly...sorry sir. Doesn't work that way."

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Seven unions suspended themselves from the CEC, Cosatu must deal with that.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Solutions won't be found through disengagement.

10 Nov 2014

Mr. T.I. Mahlaule (@One_da_boi) tweeted: "Why is ANC devastated by the expulsion of NUMSA? I mean metal workers divorced themselves from ANC"

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Sure Kamhunga (@SureKamhunga) tweeted that "after Amcu staged that dramatic 23-week strike in platinum sector [it] kind of made Numsa look weak if not irrelevant."

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke: This is a watershed event in the history of Labour Unions as the largest COSATU affiliate has now exited the Federation.

There is an increasing ideological divide emerging in the Unions which is exacerbated by a deterioration in Labour Relations within the country.

With falling growth rates and a resulting stagnant economy, there is increasing dissatisfaction on the ideological Left that the ANC's economic policies are not working.

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke: This is a watershed event in the history of Labour Unions as the largest COSATU affiliate has now exited the Federation.

There is an increasing ideological divide emerging in the Unions which is exacerbated by a deterioration in Labour Relations within the country.

With falling growth rates and a resulting stagnant economy, there is increasing dissatisfaction on the ideological Left that the ANC's economic policies are not working.

10 Nov 2014

Gladys Sithole tweeted: Mantashe denies that the percentage of support lost during elections is attributed to the move Numsa made to not support ANC.

10 Nov 2014

Fin24 user Surgeon Masooane wrote:

ANC is to be blamed indeed for failing as a leader of the mass democratic movement. It will suffer as result of "denialism" and arrogance particularly from its SGO office.    

They should have decisively intervened and advised on special congress instead of baseless rhetoric. We love ANC but it's leadership currently is blind to reality.    

NUMSA and others can bring it to its knees with industrial actions and they will running to Queen again to explain economic crisis or shoot workers. 2017 must come already so we clean the ANC.  

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe doesn't think the Cosatu/ANC alliance is in jeopardy.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: No ANC NEC members in Cosatu, but do have Cosatu members in the ANC NEC.

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Official ANC statement by Gwede Mantashe:

Reaction to the developments in COSATU

The outcome of the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of COSATU, specifically the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) is disappointing and tragic. From its inception, COSATU was established to advance worker solidarity in order to unite and organise workers and the working class to improve their conditions. Our view as the African National Congress is, and has always been, that we must support COSATU in its historic mission to consolidate and advance worker unity.

As such, as an organisation we will resist any temptation to engage in the current dispute characterised by mudslinging and insults against individuals or components of the Tripartite Alliance. We reaffirm our position that the expulsion of NUMSA from the Federation is bad for the COSATU itself, it is bad for the ANC, bad for the Alliance, the progressive forces as well as for society in general.

Within this context and given the challenges faced by COSATU, the ANC had established a task team led by the Deputy President to mediate and assist to address some challenges facing COSATU and the differences amongst its affiliates. The intention was to persuade comrades to avoid a split in the federation at all cost. Given the not so easy task of building unity, the ANC Task Team met with all nineteen COSATU affiliates.

The report of the task team to the COSATU CEC sought to provide suggestions on how to deal with the conflict within the Federation. Amongst the suggestions offered was that NUMSA reverses its decision to extend its scope beyond its identified industry and subject itself to the discipline, principles and regulations of the Federation. In the context of seeking to preserve unity, COSATU was also advised to be sensitive to the political implications of the case facing its General Secretary.

As such the Federation should not be mechanical in its approach but mindful of its long-term implications.We don`t believe that the challenges facing the Federation are insurmountable nor the differences irreconcilable. Allowing a split in the Federation can only help the historic enemies of the Alliance from both the left and right of the political spectrum. This development can never be celebrated, it in fact calls upon all of us to work hard to find each other.

The ANC will continue to engage the Federation to conduct a detailed analysis of the impact of this decision. The ANC will further engage with all the affiliates with a view of consolidating unity.The ideological and class character of the ANC has always been contested given different class interests. The ANC remains a disciplined force of the left, biased towards working class and poor. The working class, and workers in particular, remains a critical motive force of the NDR and the ANC prides itself as the champion of their rights and interests.

Constructive contestations are healthy and must always be appreciated within the context of the democratic character of the movement; equally we must protect the movement against any attack to its profound principles. As we work hard to find solutions we must be vigilant of any strategies and plans to destroy the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Alliance at all costs.The attacks on the ANC by NUMSA are unfounded.

The ANC remains committed to and continues to pursue the implementation of the Freedom Charter. The ANC has scored remarkable achievements in the past twenty years and acknowledges that much more needs to be done. In its 53rd National Conference, the ANC adopted the NDP as the framework to move South Africa forward and to increase investment, skills development, job creation and the elimination of poverty.

Therefore, the NDP is by no means a neo-liberal ideological programme but a plan to implement the ideals of Freedom Charter.The conflict in COSATU must be treated as a conflict inside the Federation in which the ANC Task Team remains available to assist in the resolution thereof and ensure reconciliation and the building of unity and cohesion in the Federation.Attached is the report of the ANC Task Team that was presented to the COSATU CEC.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe laughing in response to question by the BBC: "You must never overstay your welcome."

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Violent polemics are like sniping each other, would rather recommend  engagement... once people stop engaging, that is bad for society.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Destructive competition is bad for society.

10 Nov 2014

Hajra Omarjee (@HajraOmarjee) tweeted: "Mantashe says destructive competition is bad for society and that is why #NUMSA expulsion is not good."

10 Nov 2014

Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi retweeted this during the press conference:

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Referendum not answer to all issues, cannot fight issues out at special conference, it is self destruction.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: What would happen when defeated at special congress? Walkout...

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: What they think is what goes on in society, dangerous mistake.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: United Cosatu is good for itself, rejecting unity is not ANC failure.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Question to ask is not how Cosatu disintegration will affect ANC, but how will it affect Cosatu?

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: ANC will not be as good as when it has a strong ally.

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe concludes press conference after answering questions.

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe: Having a weaker ally is not good for the ANC.

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke:    

"The adoption of the NDP has further exacerbated an internal ideological battle within the ANC with competing views over the contents and content of the document. NUMSA's assertion that the NDP is a 'cut and paste" of DA policy might be an exaggeration, but it reflects a dramatic lack of internal policy and ideological consensus within the broader ANC Alliance. The push and pull or pragmatists on the centre (broadly supportive of the NDP) and Leftists (Unionists) is now an open wound within the larger ANC Alliance."

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke:  

"As South Africa's economy has stagnated and following the disastrous deterioration in labour relations, many within the ANC are seeking a more acquiescent labour movement more compliant and less disruptive. For future economic growth FDI will largely be dependent on a number of policy and infrastructure factors, but clearly, a disruptive Labour movement is detrimental to economic growth.

From an ANC prospective therefore, NUMSA was a boil within the movement that somehow needed to be lanced and the expulsion from COSATU effectively isolated the movement in what is a politically risky move.

NUMSA have tried to effectively hi-jack the broader labour movement through the cross-poaching of members and attempt to steer the political discourse away from the NDP to a more Workerist philosophy. Again, NUMSA's anti ANC (increasingly anti-Zuma) rhetoric have done it no favours within the broader Alliance."

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke:  

"The question arising is whether NUMSA can take its battles into the political arena as indicated over the weekend. Should they be able to organise an alternative Federation, create a political party or movement and ally themselves with a growing list of alternatives on the Left of the ANC (viz. AMCU, the EFF), a Leftist or Workerist movement can gain enough electoral traction to further disrupt ANC control - especially with local government elections looming and already fragile majorities for the ruling party in Gauteng and Nelson Mandela Bay Metro's (PE). 

"However, NUMSA will have to reach out to fore a broad Church of consensus amongst all these disparate groups should they wish to try damage the ANC electorally. Key to this is Zwelenzima Vavi who remains a pivotal and pre-eminent political personality in the country. NUMSA and its affiliates will increasingly need someone of his stature to join their ranks."

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke:  

"This split clearly weakens the effectiveness of Labour as a lobbying group. In-fighting is a serious distraction from the agenda of Labour. And, the deep ideological rift over economic policy fleshed open by this split brings to the fore competing economic visions for South Africa.

The lack of cohesion and competition for membership can have a further negative effect on labour stability in the country as competing Unions and ideological positions disrupt the workplace in new ways. Already, AMCU has tried to 'out-populist' NUM and one can expect a similar battle to emerge in other sectors as NUMSA try to increase their footprint without the constraints of being part of COSATU."

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

10 Nov 2014

Political analyst Daniel Silke:  

"Ultimately, for the ANC, this split offers both an opportunity and immense political risk. By hiving off one of its most important affiliates, it loses a vocal and intellectual component who are motivated to take the fight to the ruling party and in so doing, can whittle away further ANC support at the polls.

On the other hand, if the ANC is serious about kick-starting the economy, it needs a supportive Labour movement and getting rid of those that seek to undermine this (and the NDP) may be an essential political risk that the ruling party needs to take. There is no doubt that whatever the eventual outcome, the ANC Alliance has been weakened.

But, ultimately, South Africa's economy - and its politics - may ultimately be strengthened by a pending debate on real economic policy issues and the possible implementation of some aspects of the NDP which are urgently needed to improve investor sentiment within the country." 

10 Nov 2014

Mantashe's main point today was: "The conflict in COSATU must be treated as a conflict inside the Federation in which the ANC Task Team remains available to assist in the resolution thereof and ensure reconciliation and the building of unity and cohesion in the Federation."

10 Nov 2014

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