ANC sees no strikes during World Cup

The African National Congress does not expect its labour ally, Cosatu, to embark on strike action during the Soccer World Cup, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Friday.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions said this week it may strike over power price increases during the month-long World Cup, action which could affect the event and embarrass President Jacob Zuma’s government.

“Our understanding is Cosatu has made it clear over and over they are not intending to strike. We take that in good faith that there will not be any strikes during [the] World Cup,” Mantashe told a news briefing in London.

South African transport workers on Thursday ended a three-week strike which disrupted the railways and ports of Africa’s biggest economy.

Economists and the central bank have criticised recent strikes, saying unions are trying to hold the government and state enterprises to ransom by staging walkouts close to the World Cup to extract pay hikes above inflation of 5,1%.

Mantashe said that South Africa was fully prepared for the June 11 to July 11 World Cup.

“We will host the best World Cup ever. People who come to the World Cup will feel the warmth and generosity of the South African people.
We want to send this message despite all that is reported in the papers.”

Nationalisation not party policy
Matashe reiterated that the nationalisation of South Africa’s mines was not ANC policy, despite the push of outspoken ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema to have mines taken over by the state.

“At this point of time there is no policy in the ANC that says we will nationalise mines. We emphasise that Malema is president of the youth league but [he] is not dictating the policy of the ANC,” Mantashe said.

Malema said earlier this week that nationalisation of the mines was being discussed by the ANC’s national executive committee.

Although the influence of mining on South Africa’s gross domestic product has declined, especially as gold reserves become exhausted, the sector remains one of the country’s major employers.

Mantashe, in one of his strongest criticisms of Malema yet, said he expected the youth league leader only to talk about policy regarding youth issues and leave policy-making to the ANC.

“We have a message and the message is: ‘No one is bigger than the ANC’. If anyone crosses the line he may have his membership summarily suspended ... That goes not just for Malema but for everyone,” Mantashe told Reuters.

Malema was fined R10 000 ($1 321) and had to make a public apology earlier this month after the ANC took disciplinary action against him for defying orders from Zuma to cease making inflammatory and racially tinged comments. - Reuters

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