The ANC-led tripartite alliance is no closer to reaching a solution to the many problems it is confronted with after labour federation Cosatu on Monday postponed a bilateral meeting with the party at the 11th hour.
ANC leaders met on Sunday in preparation for the meeting with its labour partner, only to be told the meeting scheduled for Monday could not go ahead due to the unavailability of Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.
Another alliance meeting that failed to sit recently was the political council, a composition of all the top leaders in the ANC, South African Communist Party (SACP) and Cosatu.
Leaders of the alliance have been vocal about its failings, describing its current state as in "disarray".
Although Eyewitness News reported on Monday that Cosatu had boycotted the meeting due to the ANC’s own cancellation of the political council of the alliance, the labour federation said this was untrue.
Despite this denial, a leader in the federation told Business Day that Cosatu wanted to ensure it would not be pacified by the ANC top-six structure if it met it without the other more militant partner in the alliance, the SACP.
Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini previously told Business Day that the problem with the alliance was its inability to stick to commitments to hold meetings, saying it was problematic in the light of the challenges that needed to be dealt with through consultation between the partners.
Cosatu said it had requested another date for the meeting with the ANC after realising it could not go ahead without the full complement of its leadership. "This was communicated to the ANC and we shall await the ANC to propose a new date for the next meeting. Media reports that the federation boycotted or walked out of the meeting are untrue," said Cosatu spokesman Sizwe Pamla.
Meanwhile, the ANC said that it did not know why the labour federation failed to inform it of the decision timeously.
Spokesman Zizi Kodwa said the intention of the meeting was to discuss issues expressed by Cosatu against the ANC, such as its recent decision to ban President Jacob Zuma from addressing its meetings.
The federation has called on Zuma to step down amid scandals over his role in the capture of the state, saying it has no faith in his leadership.
Kodwa said the ANC’s initiative to hold bilaterals with the alliance partners was to prepare for the political council meeting that was cancelled last week. "We’ve agreed that the meeting is urgent, as soon as Ntshalintshali lands, I don’t know when that is, but that meeting should take place."
Cosatu said it looked forward to the meeting, which would "hopefully assist the alliance out of the current political gridlock".