Cosatu: Alliance won’t survive Mbeki re-election

The tripartite alliance will not survive if Thabo Mbeki is re-elected president of the African National Congress (ANC) in December, Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Sunday.

”A status quo will see the destruction of the alliance itself,” he told what was in essence a Jacob Zuma election rally in Galeshewe, Kimberley.

”We want to close the chapter of division,” he told several thousand people at the rally called by the ANC Youth League to mark its 63rd anniversary.

”Cosatu is not mincing its words. We want Jacob Zuma to lead the ANC as part of a new collective.”

The leadership Cosatu was seeking was one that was not concerned with the size of its 4×4 vehicles and sending its children to private schools, or that labelled and despised other leaders of the democratic movement and used the media and the Scorpions to settle personal political battles.

The agenda of the ANC should be quality jobs and a living wage for all workers, and defeating the scourges of HIV/Aids and crime.

Zuma told the rally that the ANC had worked hard to create the alliance as a ”powerful and unique” entity.

Cosatu and the South African Communist Party, the third member of the alliance, were the ANC’s comrades in the trenches at election times.

Youth League president Fikile Mbalula, who joined Zuma and Vavi in a rousing version of Zuma’s trademark song Umshini Wami at the end of the rally, said in an apparent reference to tycoon Tokyo Sexwale’s presidential campaign that the league could never be bought.

”You can buy people [but] you will never buy our souls. We are not cheap,” he said.

The league would make Zuma president not because he bought branches but because it had convinced people he was the man for job.

Past league president Malusi Gigaba, who is now Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, said the league acted autonomously and with its eyes and mind wide open.

”Anyone unhappy with the league should engage it and not shout it down as though they were children in a school requiring lectures and reprimands”

His remark was a reference to ANC chairperson Mosiuoa Lekota reprimanding youth league members for wearing pro-Zuma T-shirts.

Gigaba also hit out at the largely white composition of the Springboks, saying winning the Rugby World Cup was not a justification for perpetuating racism in what was supposed to be a national team. — Sapa

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Ben Maclennan
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