Alliance not just an electioneering tool, Cosatu warns ANC
Cosatu has warned the ANC not to use the tripartite alliance only to garner more support for the governing party during elections.
Speaking at the trade union federation's three-day central executive committee meeting on Thursday, Cosatu's general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the ANC should see the alliance’s relevance at all times and not only when South Africans are heading to the polls.
“We have seen that our revolution would be weaker without the alliance, but also the alliance must not become an elections machinery only.
“Cosatu has long argued that its usefulness and activities must not be limited to delivering and working together only during the elections while being excluded from governance,” said Ntshalintshali.
Earlier this year, the federation said it would reconsider its support for the ANC heading towards the May elections.
There were concerns about President Cyril Ramaphosa’s failure to consult organised labour about the unbundling of Eskom and other “emerging trends reminiscent of the 1996 class project”.
The 1996 class project is a tag used by alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP to describe ANC leaders in and out of government who promote policies that deviate from resolutions of the alliance but are in the interest of business.
On Thursday, Ntshalintshali said the challenge going forward is how the alliance will maintain true unity and cohesion.
“The CEC has noted that the alliance in some provinces is operating at an uneven level and we need to address that. All the alliance partners and the rest of the democratic movement again felt that the ANC took their concerns to heart and this is the reason why Cosatu was able to throw its entire organisational machinery behind the ANC campaign,” said Ntshalintshali.
Turning to the looming retrenchments in the public sector, Cosatu said it would not support the notion to cut jobs without a clear, scientific plan.
The federation is calling for an independent and scientific skills audit in the public service and in state-owned entities before entering into discussions about redundant skills.
“We demand a moratorium of retrenchments until proper procedures and a skills audit are formalised and negotiations entered into between employers and the unions at the public service co-ordinating bargaining council,” said Ntshalintshali.
The federation said the challenges faced by government will never be fully addressed without a fundamental review of economic policies and “without an active and clear industrial policy” that focuses on meeting the basic needs of citizens, instead of a narrow focus on producing for external markets.