Cosatu unions have resolved to embark on an antistate-capture campaign that could include a march to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against government complicity.
Although details of the action will later be ironed out by the central executive committee, the federation’s affiliates debated on Wednesday methods of registering their discontent with President Jacob Zuma’s rule.
An initial proposal by the Communications Workers Union (CWU), backed by the National Union of Mineworkers, was that Cosatu take its protest to Luthuli House.
However, this was dismissed as delegates at the central committee meeting in Irene felt such a move would amount to a protest against Cosatu.
Cosatu is a member of the ANC-led tripartite alliance, along with the South African Communist Party. Cosatu has called for the removal of Zuma from office, citing various failures under his watch, including the deterioration of relations between alliance partners.
National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union first deputy president Mike Shingange said since every other option had been exhausted, workers were left with no choice but to publicly denounce the government.
"Of course, those that would have preferred that we do not necessarily embarrass our government have exhausted this issue in meetings …
"And, like in any engagement that happens in a boardroom, you sometimes have to put pressure on those engagements or support those through a mass action," he said.
CWU general secretary Aubrey Tshabalala told Business Day the union proposed the unprecedented march to Luthuli House out of frustration with the ANC leadership.
"The important part is that we might go to the Union Buildings — it is a place of work, that’s our view. But where the centre is holding and where decisions are taken ... should be Luthuli House. We are trying to restore the image of the ANC and bring back the power of the ANC to Luthuli House."
The South African Society of Bank Officials (Sasbo) said it was crucial for Cosatu to take a stand against state capture as it affected the broader society.
Sasbo general secretary Joe Kokela said if SA’s banks had not cut ties with the Gupta family, the jobs of its members would have been on the line due to the fines the banks would face for being in business with unscrupulous individuals.
"We believe that our economies are being captured, we believe that it belongs to that one particular family. We have to stand up and support any other person who might be seen to be of help to say let us demonstrate and do something that will assist to make sure we really are freeing our economy from … the Guptas," said Kokela.