ANC delegation leaves Cosatu conference as delegates snub message of support

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Gwede Mantashe at Cosatu's 14th elective congress at Gallagher Convention Centre on Monday.
Gwede Mantashe at Cosatu's 14th elective congress at Gallagher Convention Centre on Monday.
Gallo Images/ Daily Maverick/Felix Dlangamandla
  • The ANC delegation to Cosatu's conference walked out of proceedings as it accepted it would not be allowed to deliver its message of support. 
  • Led by party national chairperson Gwede Mantashe, the delegation left the conference citing the alliance was at its weakest. 
  • Despite being snubbed, Mantashe still took the opportunity to lambast former president Jacob Zuma for raising his hand for nomination for the position of ANC chairperson.

After two days of hoping delegates would eventually allow the ANC to deliver its message of support, ANC members gave up and walked out of Cosatu's conference on Tuesday. 

On Monday, delegates at its 14th elective congress booed the ANC delegation led by party chairperson Gwede Mantashe who was forced off the stage without delivering the party's message of support. 

The hope was the ANC would eventually be allowed to deliver its message on Tuesday after Cosatu affiliate leaders had spoken to their delegates and cautioned them again about disrupting the message of support. 

This did not happen as the ANC's delegation, which included national executive committee (NEC) members Mmamoloko Kubayi, Lindiwe Zulu, and Gwen Ramokgopa, realised it would not be allowed to support its alliance partner. 

READ | Ruptures and rejection: Mantashe downplays snubbing by Cosatu delegates as Ntshalintshali slams ANC

Addressing the media on his way out, Mantashe said it was shameful Cosatu would file for a divorce from the ANC in public. 

"We were whispering among ourselves, asking, why does the party serve its divorce papers in public, they must send them to us privately so that we can read them and respond to their concerns." 

He made it clear he the ANC would not be pushovers. 

"I was there yesterday [Monday], I was there today [Tuesday], and I have not been allowed to speak. 

"What transpired means the alliance is weak; it has weakened a great deal. What needs to be done now is that we need to meet and try and rebuild it," said Mantashe. 

He added the ANC leaving the congress did not mean an end between the alliance partners. Mantashe said he wished Cosatu well as the congress continued until Thursday. 

Cosatu members jeer the ANC at its elective congress at Gallagher Convention Centre.
Gallo Images Gallo Images/ Daily Maverick/Felix Dlangamandla

Compounding the ANC's woes, its other alliance partner, the SACP, took a swipe at it when it delivered a message of support on Tuesday. 

SACP general-secretary Solly Mapaila bemoaned how the ANC had degenerated to a point where criminally charged members were standing for elections on its "ticket". 

"The grounds have shifted. When talking about changing the balance of power inside-outside, the grounds have shifted. The working class can no longer afford to be pacified. 

"Criminals are now contesting elections for the ANC - how are criminals better than revolutionaries [members of the SACP]," said Mapaila.

READ | Cele booed as union protests law enforcement budget cuts outside SAPS' headquarters

He added it was about time the SACP contested elections against the ANC. 

"Let me be clear about this matter; some comrades said the SACP is not ready to contest elections; that is not true. Let me say it this way, the SACP is ready, comrades. The SACP is ready full stop.

"The question should be, in its readiness, is the working class ready for the SACP? It has always been prepared and never been found wanting."

Mapaila said its members had given it until December to make a resolution on whether it would contest the looming national elections or not. 

Despite the barrage of criticism emanating from its alliance partners, Mantashe still took time to launch his own veiled attack at former president Jacob Zuma for raising his hand to contest the ANC chairperson position in December. 

"That's the biggest joke of the year. At 81 years old, JZ [Zuma] contesting for chair is the biggest joke I've heard all year." 

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