Cosatu: We are partly to blame for the ANC’s poor election results

Cosatu believes infighting and the fracturing of its affiliates is partially to blame for the ANC’s worst-ever election results. The federation has now called for an urgent meeting between tripartite alliance leaders to discuss concerns raised by voters during campaigning.

“We have taken our share of responsibility for the election results. The outcome was due to our own weaknesses in the federation. The leadership of the alliance as a whole should take responsibility,” Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told the Mail & Guardian on Thursday.

The most serious concerns, Dlamini said, were about poor service delivery and scandals surrounding ANC president Jacob Zuma.

“Let the alliance deal with key issues such as Nkandla and the Constitutional Court ruling, which has been mishandled. Another important issue raised by voters is the internal fighting in the ANC.”

But he was not convinced that there are now legitimate grounds to call for Zuma’s resignation, or that of other party leaders including secretary general Gwede Mantashe.


“We are listening to all these calls for resignations (from the ANC Youth League). We hope every call has a reason and think that should be explained,” he said.

The federation remained vague about what it wants the ANC to do. While the governing party’s national executive committee last week agreed to hold its elective conference in 2017, Cosatu appeared sympathetic to the youth league’s call for it to be brought forward.

“Cosatu is not going to oppose the call, but we will continue to listen to the reason put forward,” said the federation’s general secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Cosatu remains the country’s largest trade union federation, with a membership of around 1.7 million workers. The number of workers organised under the umbrella body dropped significantly after the expulsion of metalworkers union Numsa in 2014. Its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, was dismissed the following year and a host of other unions split over conflicting loyalties.

Dlamini said these factors are behind the federation’s inability to campaign effectively during the local polls. The election results, which saw the ANC support drop to its weakest ever tally of 53.9% of votes, have been described as a wake-up call by Mantashe.

The SACP blamed violent clashes between its members and the ANC over ward councillor deployments for the results, but Cosatu said the relationship between the alliance partners remains intact.

“There’s absolutely no tension between Cosatu and its alliance partners. The only cry we have is that we should be working on programmes that benefit workers, we are not. That’s our major concern,” Dlamini said.

The federation’s leader also responded to a perceived conspiracy against Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, apparently led by the Directorate for Priority Crimes Unit (the Hawks).

“We don’t know if he’s being targeted or not. We are saying we should not create a perception that we are not equal before the law. If he has things to answer, he must do that. But state agencies should not behave in a way which creates doubt as to whether they are being political,” he said.

Cosatu deputy president Zingiswa Losi said Gordhan, as well as other political leaders accused of wrongdoing, should be afforded an opportunity to respond in court.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

Related stories

State’s wage freeze sparks apoplexy

Public sector unions have cried foul over the government’s plan to freeze wages for three years and have vowed to fight back.

Too broke for Mboweni to budget

The scramble to find cash for an SAA bailout, Covid-19 grants and civil servants’ demands force postponement of mini-budget

Teacher union to join Cosatu strike over ‘uncaring employer’

Sadtu has accused the state of being an “uncaring employer” for failing to pay salary increases due two years ago

October 7 strike: ‘Lukewarm’ action amid Covid-19 crisis?

After months of little action, the planned nationwide stayaway may not be an impressive show of force by the trade union movement

Dance with the ‘devil’: Why SA has fought off the IMF for so long

The ANC has, until now, always rejected going to the International Monetary Fund, which underscores how bad our economic situation is

Editorial: Corruption taints us all

The SIU revealed that it is investigating 658 companies that may have profited unfairly from the Covid-19 crisis. Together those companies raked in over R5-billion — money that could have been better spent plugging some of the many leaks that have imperilled South Africa’s democracy.
Advertising

Subscribers only

The shame of 40 000 missing education certificates

Graduates are being left in the lurch by a higher education department that is simply unable to deliver the crucial certificates proving their qualifications - in some cases dating back to 1992

The living nightmare of environmental activists who protest mine expansion

Last week Fikile Ntshangase was gunned down as activists fight mining company Tendele’s expansions. Community members tell the M&G about the ‘kill lists’ and the dread they live with every day

More top stories

Fifteen witnesses for vice-chancellor probe

Sefako Makgatho University vice-chancellor Professor Peter Mbati had interdicted parliament last month from continuing with the inquiry

Constitutional Court ruling on restructuring dispute is good for employers

A judgment from the apex court empowers employers to change their workers’ contracts — without consultation

Audi Q8: Perfectly cool

The Audi Q8 is designed to be the king in the elite SUV class. But is it a victim of its own success?

KZN officials cash in on ‘danger pay for Covid-19’

Leadership failures at Umdoni local municipality in KwaZulu-Natal have caused a ‘very unhappy’ ANC PEC to fire the mayor and chief whip
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday