/ 23 September 2009

Sanco: We do not accept junior-partner status

Alliance partners and the media must remember the importance of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco), the organisation’s deputy president, Lemias Mashile, said on Wednesday.

”It is disturbing to find the phrase ‘tripartite alliance’ … its meaning is often Cosatu [Congress of South African Trade Unions], the SACP [South Africa Communist Party] and the ANC,” Mashile told delegates at the 10th Cosatu national congress in Midrand.

”We as Sanco do not accept a junior-partner status.”

The alliance, which comprises the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP, is sometimes referred to by activists as ‘the tripartite and a half alliance’ in reference to Sanco’s participation in it.

Sanco had in the past played an important part in anti-apartheid activism.

However, in recent years the organisation has been riven by leadership battles and dysfunctional organisational struggles. Sanco still plays a role in organising communities, particularly around issues of service delivery.

”As Sanco we still defend communities in good times and bad times,” said Mashile.

Mashile said that government should also be more willing to listen to Sanco as an organisation.

”We have been too tolerant of government not engaging or engaging very little,” he said.

Mashile also called on Cosatu to intervene on behalf of NGO workers who he said are not being adequately represented. He also called attention to the issue of indigenous languages and asked for their greater inclusion in government and public business.

Meanwhile, Cosatu on Tuesday called for the central bank to be stripped of many of its powers and taken into state ownership.

”The South African Reserve Bank is not neutral. It is not like you can afford to have it as a bank of private citizens with money,” Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said on the sidelines of the labour group’s annual conference.

”If you do that you sideline the state itself and all the constituencies in society, including labour. The bank must be state-owned and run.”

The South African Reserve Bank is one of very few in the world owned by private shareholders, who have the right to appoint half the board of directors, but have no say in its day-to-day operations or policy. — Sapa, Reuters