Zuma: Unity of the alliance is paramount

The unity of the ruling alliance was “paramount and fundamental”, President Jacob Zuma said on Monday.

In a speech prepared for delivery at the Raymond Mhlaba Memorial Lecture in Port Elizabeth, Zuma said it was the task of the African National Congress (ANC) as the leader of the alliance—the ANC, the South African Communist Party (SACP), the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)—to ensure that it remained united.

“It is also the mission of the leaders of the alliance, to keep the ANC strong and united so that it can lead the alliance and the country effectively.

“At this juncture in our history, the alliance is the only existing political entity that is capable of completing our mission of transforming our society,” he said.

“The alliance leadership carries the hopes and aspirations of the greatest majority of our country and beyond.”

The president’s comments follow recent media reports of a senior ANC national executive committee member publicly expressing concern over the growing dominance of the SACP and Cosatu in the ruling party.

Anxiety has reportedly emerged among ANC leaders about the left’s influence on key ANC policy decisions taken since the party’s watershed elective conference in Polokwane.

“Our mission as the alliance is therefore to ensure a strong and united ANC, which will use state resources to implement a progressive programme of action that should result in faster, effective and more humane service delivery,” Zuma said.

Zuma also urged leaders in the public and private spheres to serve with “humility, discipline, honesty, efficiency and distinction”.

“The non-negotiable factor is that the dignity of our people must be restored through the services we provide. That is what our stalwarts worked for and sacrificed for,” he said.

The government’s view of leadership for development focused on how to ensure that citizens were involved in governance.

Effective leadership, Zuma charged, required two-way communication with the people, adding that the Presidential Hotline was a mechanism to maintain this kind of communication between the government and the people.

He bemoaned the effect of the global financial downturn on the economy, detailing government’s interventions to cushion the country from its impact.

“We also have the Framework Agreement with business, labour and the community sector to respond to the economic crisis.

“As part of the agreement, we have invested an amount of R2,4-billion in a National Jobs Fund, drawn from resources in the National Skills Fund and the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

“Among concrete steps in the Framework Agreement is the setting up of a training layoff scheme as one alternative to retrenchment for workers and companies affected by the recession,” he said.

Government remained committed to creating decent work and to improving the nature of work in the country.

“We undertook to introduce laws to regulate contract work, sub-contracting and outsourcing.

“We also stated that we would address the problem of labour brokering and would prohibit certain abusive practices. Some of the processes are already before Parliament,” he said.

The economic crisis also underlined the need for a reform of international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“The current arrangements are inadequate, unfair and do not reflect the changes that have taken place in the global economy.
Our view is that emerging and developing economies, including the poorest, must have a greater voice in these institutions,” he said.

South Africa had also called for the urgent reform of the United Nations Security Council when it participated in the world body’s general assembly, Zuma said.—Sapa

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