The African National Congress wanted the two-week public service strike to have been “called off” rather than merely “suspended”, the ruling party said on Tuesday.
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe told reporters at Luthuli House that union leaders decided to suspend the strike to “buy time” for them to consult with their members.
“My view is the strike should have been called off, not suspended,” Mantashe said.
Mantashe, a former trade unionist, advised Cosatu to restructure the delegation going into the bargaining chamber, so that decisions could be taken by everyone present.
“They must also be there and appreciate the effort that it takes to move one percentage point,” he said.
The strike did however instill some urgency in the ANC to meet with the Congress of South African Trade Unions. Cosatu lamented during the strike that relations between the two alliance partners had broken down to a point that no alliance summit could be held because of infighting.
Mantashe however confirmed the ANC was meeting later on Tuesday with Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in preparation for a meeting with Cosatu on Monday. On Thursday the top leaders of the alliance are meeting and Mantashe vowed that an alliance summit would be held by the end of the year.
For Mantashe, this week will be all about the mending of relationships. He will, together with an ANC delegation, meet the national leadership of the Democratic Alliance in Cape Town later this week. The latest member of the Western Cape cabinet, Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille, will also be in attendance. The DA wrote to President Jacob Zuma a few months ago asking for a meeting to discuss the disruptive behaviour by ANC members in the Western Cape.
The DA complained to Zuma about disruptions of DA meetings shortly before the by-elections on the Cape Flats and land invasions in Mossel Bay, where the DA runs the municipality.
Mantashe will visit the province at a time when the ANC is desperately trying to regroup and prepare for the municipal elections in 2011.