Cosatu wants lefties in municipalities

Cosatu wants more leftist leaders in ANC-controlled municipalities across the country.

At the alliance summit, due to be held before the end of the year, the trade union federation will argue that deployment committees must be established in all ANC branch, regional and provincial structures.

In the aftermath of this year’s general elections Cosatu and the SACP have complained about the marginalisation of their leaders by the ANC.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told the Mail & Guardian this week that, if agreed to by the ANC, the move would see the federation and the SACP participate in high-level deployment decisions for local and provincial government. He said the alliance deployment committee is only functional at a national level.

The matter had been agreed on at both the ANC’s Polokwane conference in 2007 and last year’s alliance summit, but had not been implemented, Dlamini said.

He attributed poor service delivery in some ANC-controlled municipalities to incompetent councillors deployed not on merit but because of their powerful ANC connections. ‘There are already calls in some municipalities for councillors to step down because they are unqualified,” he said.

At Cosatu’s 10th annual congress last week, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe agreed with delegates about the involvement of alliance partners in deployment committees.

‘We [the ANC] agree that it is the duty of the alliance to select the best candidates for every ward, irrespective of whether you are an ANC, Cosatu or an SACP member. We must have a formula to have deployment committees in provinces,” he said.

Also on the upcoming alliance summit’s agenda is the government’s Green Paper on the national planning commission, spearheaded by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel. Cosatu is demanding an overhaul of the paper on the grounds that it was drafted without consulting the alliance.

Other resolutions adopted by Cosatu at its congress include the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank, the establishment of a workers’ bank and the tightening of labour laws.

But the federation appears to have toned down militant resolutions it adopted at its 2006 congress, which targeted the government’s macroeconomic policies, the jobs and poverty campaign and inflation targeting.

Dlamini defended Cosatu’s decision not to include some of the 2006 resolutions, saying that in Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, Cosatu, for the first time, had someone who knew how to tackle the macro-and microeconomic policies.

Matuma Letsoalo

Matuma Letsoalo

Matuma Letsoalo is the political editor of the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003 and has won numerous awards since then, including the regional award for Vodacom Journalist of the Year in the economics and finance category in 2015, SA Journalist of the Year in 2011, the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the Year award in 2008 and CNN African Journalist of the Year – MKO Abiola Print Journalism in 2004. Read more from Matuma Letsoalo

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