Cape Town - Political analyst Daniel Silke said on Monday the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) from the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) presents the ANC with opportunity and risk.
Numsa got the boot from Cosatu during a special central executive committee (CEC) meeting which ran into the early hours of Saturday morning.
On Monday, the ANC said the decision to expel Numsa was disappointing and tragic.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe reaffirmed the ANC's position that the expulsion of Numsa is bad for Cosatu, the ANC, the alliance and society in general.
Silke pointed out that the ideological rift over South Africa's economic policy fleshed open by this split highlights the competing economic visions for the country.
Numsa has been vocal about its unhappiness over the implementation e-tolls and the youth wage subsidy. It has even described the national development plan (NDP) as a neo-liberal document.
The adoption of the NDP, Silke said, further exacerbated an internal ideological battle within the ANC, with competing views over the contents of the document.
"Ultimately for the ANC this split offers both opportunity and immense political risk," said Silke.
"By hiving off one of its most important affiliates, it unleashes a vocal and intellectual component motivated to take on the ruling party, which in so doing, can whittle away further ANC support at the polls.
"On the other hand, if the ANC is serious about kickstarting 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 the ruling party needs to take."
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