Labour federation COSATU says it could abandon its ally ANC as soon as the 2021 local government elections depending on its discussions with another ANC ally SA Communist Party (SACP).
This was revealed in a media briefing on Thursday following a meeting of COSATU’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) earlier this week.
COSATU and SACP have been in an informal alliance with the ANC since the advent of democracy in 1994, consistently rallying their members to vote for the ruling party.
‘Difficult to convince members’
The federation’s General Secretary, Bheki Ntshalintshali, however said it was finding it more difficult to convince its members to continue voting for the ANC.
“The CEC meeting acknowledged that there are major problems facing workers that will make it hard to convince workers to support the ANC during the upcoming elections. Some of these challenges have left many workers feeling like they are being asked to vote against their own interests,” he explained.
Ntshalintshali cited the ANC’s divisions, ill discipline and inability to implement its own resolutions, many of which are pro-workers, as some of the reasons for falling support among workers.
“Workers have always made it clear that their support for the ANC does not amount to a blank cheque, and previously refused to campaign or support candidates known to be corrupt or lazy, just because they succeeded in manipulating the ANC internal processes,” he added.
Bilateral meeting with SACP
COSATU is therefore pinning its hopes on an SACP resolution to consider contesting elections on its own and will hold bilateral discussions with it to map the way forward, Ntshalintshali said.
“We believe that the conditions will never be perfect for the Party [SACP] to answer this question. The federation believes that the Party should create these conditions. In addition, we shall demand that our vanguard Party of the working class, to address some of its internal weaknesses,” the General Secretary explained.
COSATU is currently at loggerheads with the government over the latter’s refusal to implement a 2018 wage agreement that would have seen above-inflation wage increases for public servants.
Earlier this week, it expressed solidarity with the rival SA Federation of Trade Unions’ (SAFTU) national strike held on Wednesday in response to the economic crisis in South Africa.
“We call on all the workers and the people of South Africa to support the SAFTU strike for a dignified life and decent jobs for all working people,” it said.