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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Cosatu says ANC needs ‘great change’ for a better calibre of leadership

After a meeting of its top leaders this week, the federation reiterated its call for a reconfiguration of the ruling alliance.

Cosatu has criticised the post-Nasrec ANC for showing weaknesses and failing to put across a coherent political message and programme that will satisfy the masses.

The nearly 2 million-member federation lambasted the ANC’s anti-corruption drive for its lack of political content and direction caused by its “mechanical” strategies.

Under the ANC there was massive dominance of state bureaucracy, the undermining of the party’s autonomy to formulate state policy and implementation and a tendency to elevate “untransformed” state power over mass power.

This uncompromising view emerged following Cosatu’s three-day central executive committee (CEC) meeting held in Johannesburg up to Wednesday. The CEC, comprising Cosatu national office bearers, provincial chairpersons and secretaries and representatives from each union affiliate, runs the federation’s affairs when its national congress and central committee are not in session.

According to Cosatu, currently the central feature of the state is to see mass mobilisation against it as being counter-revolutionary, oppositional and therefore anti-ANC.

“This has led to a situation where a gap between the masses and the ANC develops and the ANC is forced to sometimes uncritically defend the inherent horrible deficiencies of the inherited colonial and capitalist state.

“As a result, the masses are starting to gradually lose confidence in the capacity of the ANC to drive transformation,” Cosatu said.

There was a great need to change the ANC so that it had calibre of leadership that would take the party into the future, guided by ANC resolutions.

It wanted a reconfigured alliance, a refrain of both Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP) that had been ignored by the ANC for a number of years.

The two components demanded equal decision-making power among all alliance partners and objected to the ANC being the sole decision maker, as had been the case since it assumed power in 1994.

“We reiterate our position that only a reconfigured alliance holds any chance of delivering on the goals and aspirations of the working class. The future of the alliance is not guaranteed if the process to reconfigure it becomes stillborn. The message is clear for the alliance: ‘reconfigure or die’.”

However, despite the differences over the alliance reconfiguration, the Cosatu CEC still reiterated the federation’s last congress resolution to campaign and vote for the ANC in the 2019 elections.

It expressed support for the ongoing Zondo commission into state capture as a way to “defeat the cancer of state corruption”.

“We want to see all those people implicated in looting by the state capture commission prosecuted and sent to jail. The hysterical noises from those who are attacking the state capture commission is informed by their guilty consciences,” Cosatu said.

It hit at the ANC’s “neoliberal” economic policies and the continued national Treasury restrictive policy approach; accused Treasury of being obsessively focused on achieving budget-deficit targets; and the Reserve Bank of continuing to pursue an inflation target that excessively restricted the economy to a low growth path.

The CEC called for the VBS Mutual Bank scandal to be used as a step towards transforming the financial sector and to counter a monopoly by the big four banks. It opposed the Reserve Bank’s plan to close VBS and wants the central bank to use it as a developmental tool.

They also want Cosatu to pursue the resolution to establish a workers’ bank.


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