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By Eric Naki

Political Editor

Task team appointed to reconfigure Tripartite Alliance

The Alliance Political Council is meeting tomorrow, where the SACP and Cosatu want action on the impact of fuel price hikes and VAT.

The much anticipated reconfiguration of the ANC-led Tripartite Alliance is close to becoming a reality after its partners agreed to appoint a task team to work on its modalities.

The reconfigured alliance is envisaged to become more influential, with its junior partners allowed more say in decision-making at every level including directing government programmes such as the fiscus, wastage and the provision of better and cost-effective healthcare services, among others.

ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule announced that a task team has been appointed to work on modalities on the alliance configuration, which was an idea formulated by the SACP. The issue had been on the SACP agenda for a number of years and was one of its resolutions at its last congress.

The party believed that the way the alliance operated currently, with the ANC as the only leader of the structure, was unworkable and presented problems for the party.

We should be clear about how we are participating in the alliance. As the alliance, we need to finalise a common document with inputs from all partners on this matter,” said the SACP’s first deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila.

The ANC-led Tripartite Alliance is mulling the question of halting the regular fuel hikes and the need to further deal with the impact of the recent VAT increase and how these could be minimised to benefit the poor.

This emerged from a briefing on the outcomes of the Alliance Political Council, a body comprising the national office bearers of the ANC, SACP, Cosatu and the South African National Civic Organisations (Sanco). The Council will meet at Luthuli House – ANC headquarters in Johannesburg – tomorrow and Thursday.

Alliance components such as the SACP and Cosatu are eager to have economic issues posing a challenge to the country to be tackled before they cause real damage to the economy. Top on the list are the regular fuel price hikes and the impact of higher VAT on consumers.

The SACP said it would like to see action taken to stem the tide of increases in fuel prices, and another look at how zero-rating could be adjusted so that the poor are not impacted negatively by the VAT increase of 1 percent in April.

The SACP’s Mapaila said his party believes that more needs to be done to extricate people out the current economic quagmire resulting from the recent hikes in the fuel price and VAT.

We say as the SACP let’s explore the basket of zero-rated goods and decide how we can further help the poor so that they are not impacted by the VAT hike and the fuel increases. We want to ask the government how can we lower the cost of fuel. The government should do more so that our people are not further put in a strain due to this situation,” Mapaila said.

The SACP, among others, would discuss this matter at its special Central Committee meeting scheduled for Friday and Saturday, along with the need to reconfigure the Tripartite Alliance.

Mapaila’s second deputy general secretary Chris Mahlako said they would voice their position when the Alliance Political Council resumed on Monday.

We will discuss the whole issue of zero-rated goods and what can be done to ease the burden on the poor,” Mahlako said.

Monday’s meeting will focus on economic issues, including state revenue, state capacity and social security grants.

ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte said the ANC and its allies will strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of the state. Now they monitor how the government is dealing with the fiscus and the delivery of quality and cost-effective healthcare services, including the implementation of the National Health Insurance.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said the federation supported the ANC’s Nasrec resolution on land expropriation without compensation. Dlamini stressed that Cosatu would not accept any land solution that did not guarantee land tenure to the people.

Citizens of this country should have security of tenure whether they fall under amakhosi or not. If the land issue does not address the security of tenure and the rights of women, it is a problem to us,” Dlamini said.

The SACP’s Mapaila said the party believed that people must have access to land, including township residents.

We reject the appropriation of land as well as appropriation of labour by the capitalist forces. We want people in the township to be able to have security of tenure so that their land is not taken willy-nilly from them,” Mapaila said.


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