ANC vs Cosatu? Or once again desperate manoeuvres by the ANC to use Cosatu as an election machine?


The rumour mill from the capitalist press is in full swing. They are building up Vavi and Zuma factions in Cosatu as if there was a fundamental difference between the 2 ‘groups’. Only a few months ago when the ANC-Cosatu alliance faced its most serious crisis during the Marikana uprising, while Ramaphosa and Zuma organised a special police unit to shoot down striking miners in cold blood, Vavi, was central to running a campaign in Cosatu as if NUM and Cosatu were under attack from a group of thugs. Vavi was central to isolating the striking mineworkers and preventing the rest of the working class uniting with the mineworkers against the ANC govt. In other words, Vavi was central to maintaining the ANC-Cosatu alliance though which Anglo American keeps the masses in SA in wage slavery. Now the capitalist press want us to believe that Vavi and Zuma are at each others throats.

So why is the capitalist press deliberately building up the profile of Vavi as if he is so ‘critical’ of the ANC policies? The answer lies in the fact that the rank and file of Cosatu and beyond have largely rejected the ANC. This is reflected in the survey done by the Forum for Public Dialogue, which has been suppressed by the Cosatu leadership, Terry Bell and Moeletsi Mbeki, which reports that more than 50% (or much more ) of Cosatu shopstewards reject the ANC and want Cosatu to break ties with it. This report was supposed to have been presented to the Sept 2012 Cosatu Congress but was suppressed. If workers break from the alliance then imperialism has a problem- there is no other force that is large enough to control the masses, not yet anyway. So how does to ANC retain control of the masses? Well, they use their old trick that they have used over the decades by the ANC Youth League, namely get a group that poses radically, as if it opposes and is critical of the leadership, thus showing that there is a place in the ANC for radical views, and then in the final moments, the very leaders of the ANC YL will say, despite their criticisms, they support the ANC.

Thus the profile of Vavi and Irvin Jim is being built up to show that radicals have a place in the alliance, despite the strong disagreements they know the base of Cosatu has. For all the supposed pro-worker posture and tones of Jim and Vavi, they will end up, like Peter Mokaba, like Fikile Mbalula, like the younger Mandela, like Julius Malema, that despite all the so-called differences, they would call on workers to support the ANC.

Let’s put the so-called ‘worker friendly’ Vavi and Jim to the test: Let us use the demands raised by Vavi and Jim, will they put to the ANC that workers will support them in the next election on 3 conditions:

1.       Scrap all labour brokers;

2.       Scrap e-tolling;

3.       Scrap the cheap labour youth wage subsidy and create decent work, starting by filling all the vacant posts in the public and municipal sector.

Will Vavi and Jim even put down these 3 minimum conditions (which are by no means Socialist, but rather modest democratic demands)? We think not. This means that after all the bluster and fake disagreements, Vavi and Jim will lead Cosatu members to once again be used as an election machine for the ANC.

We say, the NDP is the plan of the World Bank; it should be rejected and there should be mobilisation for a Special Congress of Cosatu to break with the NDP and the ANC, once and for all. We need a Conference of the left to work towards a revolutionary programme that will set the basis for a new revolutionary working class party that is truly internationalist and independent of the state and capital.