Cosatu and the ANC: the fat’s in the fire

I have been sitting on this for a few days partly because Cosatu’s Central Executive Committee statement on Thursday last week and the ANC response are as harsh as we have seen – and that includes the tone of voice that accompanied Cosatu’s huge strike against ‘Mbeki’s privatisation’ in 2002.

Cosatu has a long and interesting statement; one of the more important paragraphs read:

Regrettably, to our frustration and anger, the government continues with the tendency inherited from the previous administration to ignore policy directives it does not like and only implement those areas that the markets/capital are happy with. In this regard we are angry that the Treasury remain infected by the highly organised but conservative bureaucrats who have been driving neo liberal and conservative policies for the past 16 years.

The ANC replied:

ANC has grown weary of the latest media outbursts by COSATU, seeking to rubbish and undermine anything from the content of the President’s State of the Nation Address to the Budget Speech by the Finance Minister, as well as ANC policies. Taking pot shots at the ANC and its Government show signs by COSATU of veering towards oppositional politics and not sticking to Alliance politics and traditions.

The point for now is that this does not presage an actual splitting of The Alliance. Cosatu is going to mobilise its members to join and influence the ANC in the lead-up to the ANC’s National General Council later this year – much as they did in the lead-up to Polokwane in 2007.

Cosatu’s short term objective is to defend against the attack on Gwede Mantashe (emanating from, but not exclusive to, the ANC Youth Leage). The longer term objectives of Cosatu (and the SACP) are finally starting to emerge and I will deal with this in the next post.

For now Cosatu has attacked on a broad front:

  • ‘tenderprenuers’, corruption and cronyism;
  • relaxation of the labour market;
  • failure of the ANC to stick with agreements that are reached in alliance summits;
  • monetary policy, inflation targeting and the role of the SARB and
  • a general lack of fit between micro and macro-economic policy.

For its part the ANC hadn’t quite finished with its fury at Cosatu’s CEC statement, and in particular Vavi’s niggling and constant accusation of corruption within the ANC and government.

Here’s the full text:

The African National Congress (ANC) has noted repeated allegations of corruption raised by the Congress of South African Trade Unions Secretary General, Cde Zwelinzima Vavi.

Cde Vavi speaks with conviction that “there is a tiny minority in the ANC leadership and membership which is corrupt and who use the ANC to enrich themselves”.

To this end, Cde Vavi has not raised this matter with the ANC in any of the fora of engagements we have and he has not provided any evidence of such allegations.

As a leader of the Alliance, we would have expected of him to have brought such a matter to the ANC leadership or even presented the list of such corrupt individuals. Together, we would have walk and matched to the nearest police station to ensure that such individuals are arrested. Cde Vavi would have assisted the ANC and government to root out the scourge of corruption in the country.

Cde Vavi’s failure to bring this weighty matter to the attention of the ANC and even his failure to report this matter to the law enforcement authorities, amounts to an insult to the standing and image of the ANC, its leadership and membership. These omissions on his part cannot amount to a fight against corruption but is reminiscent of grand standing.

Issued by:
Jackson Mthembu
ANC National Spokesperson

I don’t suppose it means much, but Jackson Mthembu was released from a police cell a few hours ago after been caught for drunken driving in Cape Town early this morning

2 thoughts on “Cosatu and the ANC: the fat’s in the fire

  1. Hi Nic
    They are all starting to behave like wind-up toys – lots and lots of noise and then silence – until they get wound up again – and then the noise starts again – it is all becoming so, so boring and trivial – all playing to the same music – the populists’ tune –

    1. Thank heavens there appears to be brief moments of quiet before something or someone winds them all up again ….. but I say “appears” because, like with small children, a sudden silence means something is being cooked (the goose), swung (the cat) or spilled (the milk) or stolen (all the cookies)

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