SACP, Cosatu Express “Deep Concern” Over ANC-led Alliance

PICTURE: Mail&Guardian

The South African Communist Party (SACP) and  the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Monday, expressed concern over the state of the African National Congress-led alliance, saying divisions have intensified.

The SACP and Cosatu held a bilateral meeting on Monday, which was attended by national officials and office bearers of the two working class organisations. 

“The meeting expressed deep concern about the state of the ANC-headed alliance. Alliance Secretariat and Political Council meetings have collapsed. In the process, divisions in our broader movement have intensified,” a joint statement said. 

“People are increasingly turning to the courts, the mechanism of last resort, as an alternative for relief in the midst of glaring leadership failures. Killings in our movement have increased and continue unabated. Provinces such as KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) have become the glaring example of this painful experience reminiscent of apartheid sponsored killings.”

In the statement, the SACP and Cosatu said the September 12, Pietermaritzburg High Court ruling that the KwaZulu-Natal provincial African National Congress (ANC) elective conference in November 2015 was unlawful required “sober and sensible leadership” that will place principled organisational unity of common purpose above all.

In that conference, then ANC chairperson, Senzo Mchunu, was defeated by then provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala and it paved the way for Mchunu’s subsequent removal as KZN Premier in 2016. Some MECs were also removed along with Mchunu in what was seen as purge. 

 Cosatu and the SACP on Monday, said that the ANC leadership at all levels needed to protect the credibility of its forthcoming December elective conference and ensure that it is not derailed.

“These problems require bold and decisive leadership! The nation needs an inspiring leadership that has the capacity to look beyond narrow selfish interests. It is very clear radical action is required,” the statement read.

“The SACP and Cosatu will be making every attempt to sensitise the ANC about the urgent, inescapable necessity for the alliance to function optimally. The absence of democratic, consensus-seeking consultation on the direction of our shared national democratic revolution has created a gulf of leadership affecting both the alliance and society as whole. 

“This has plunged the revolution into unchartered waters, an unacceptable situation of uncertainty and all manner of factional, including right-wing opportunism seeking to fill the void. If this situation continues, the SACP and COSATU will consult with SANCO (the South African National Civic Organisation) to convene the alliance with or without the ANC!” 

The Tripartite Alliance, between the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP has been strained in recent months, with some  Sacp leaders calling for a breakaway from the alliance. 

On July 11, delegates at a SACP congress sang and danced, calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down. The SACP has banned Zuma from attending its events after Cosatu did the same following a chaotic Workers’ Day event in the Free State earlier this year. Cosatu had to cancel speeches on the day after Zuma was continually heckled by workers.

The meeting also discussed the South African economy.

“South Africa has just come out of a technical recession, but thousands of workers in various sectors are facing retrenchment as capitalist bosses intensify restructuring to secure and maximise profit without regard to the plight of the workers. The intensified offensive by the bosses has capitalised on the weaknesses facing our alliance,” the statement read.

“Those who remain employed face intensified work conditions and ever deepening exploitation. In our country, employment does not mean an exit from the vice grip of poverty, since millions of workers are the working poor, while capitalist bosses heap up profit and continue to privately accumulate wealth.”

The SACP and Cosatu will hold a joint press briefing soon to discuss their work towards the Cosatu-led September 27th protest action against corruption and failure to act against corporate capture of strategic levels of the state.