Cosatu to debate whether to support SACP at polls

Cosatu has made it clear that Cyril Ramaphosa is their preferred candidate for the ANC presidency. (Hanna Brunlof, M&G)

Cosatu has made it clear that Cyril Ramaphosa is their preferred candidate for the ANC presidency. (Hanna Brunlof, M&G)

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) plans to wait until the succession race of the ANC is decided in December before deciding if it will support the South African Communist Party’s (SACP) decision to contest elections.

“It’s a decision that members must begin to talk about, and they must clarify themselves on the implication of it. But up until we get to the next congress, we remain in alliance with the ANC and SACP,” deputy president Zingiswa Losi said at Cosatu headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

The SACP earlier this year resolved to contest elections as its relationship with the ANC deteriorates, and the governing party refuses to convene an alliance political council meeting.

The ANC has not yet met with the workers federation or the communist party since the two allies called for President Jacob Zuma to resign or be recalled. Both Cosatu and the SACP have requested the meeting to explain their resolutions.

At its central committee, at least six Cosatu affiliates proposed supporting the SACP at the polls, should the ANC fail to respond to corruption and state capture.

Losi said next year’s Cosatu congress must decide on the implications of the SACP’s resolution on the alliance.

“One implication will be what does it mean for the SACP’s relationship with the alliance. The congress will have to deal with that. We are also still going to engage SACP on its resolution.”

Leaders of Cosatu’s 17 affiliates met this week for a central executive committee (CEC) where the federation refused to formulate a back-up plan in case deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa is not elected as the next leader of the ANC.

“The CEC made it very clear that the federation does not have a plan B or C on this matter. We are supporting cadre Cyril Ramaphosa with the intention to ensure that he is elected president of the ANC in December and of South Africa,” general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said.

“We reject any talk of a plan B because we support this campaign with the intention to see him win and not lose.”

But Losi added that there is no plan to dump the ANC, should Ramaphosa lose.

“We have no plan to walk away from the alliance if comrade Cyril does not win. We did not have such a debate,” she said.

National strike against state capture
Cosatu has also announced a national strike against state capture and corruption on September 27. The federation said it has already received a permit from the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), meaning its members would be protected during the strike.

But it will not be a #ZumaMustFall or anti-ANC march, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said.

“We are striking against state capture and corruption and any individual who is supposedly guilty of corruption will be targeted,” Dlamini said. “The CEC said when there were those that were suggesting there should be a march to Luthuli House, the CEC said no; Cosatu won’t do that.”

“It’s not about calling for Zuma to step down. When people write placards, it’s up to them.”

Dlamini also said delays in convening bilateral meetings with the ANC and a political council meeting with all alliance partners was concerning.

“We are losing time in not holding these meetings that we believe are very important,” Dlamini said.

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