Cosatu pledges election support for ANC despite affiliates’ threats
Union federation says it is happy with the governing party's pro-worker policies
Cosatu has again thrown its weight behind the ANC ahead of the May national elections, saying despite its weaknesses the governing party has implemented pro-worker policies.
The decision to back the ANC follows weeks of threats by some of the federation’s affiliates to withdraw support for the ANC after it announced its intention to unbundle Eskom and institute other austerity measures.
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said on Thursday that having considered all factors, the federation’s central executive committee reiterated calls to campaign for an overwhelming victory for the ANC as resolved at their 13th national congress.
He was speaking at Cosatu’s media briefing after this week’s three-day central executive committee meeting where several issues, including the federation’s stance towards the ANC ahead of the elections, were debated.
Cosatu maintained its stance on the state of its alliance partner, the ANC, saying it is “uncomfortable” and “troubled” by the party’s self-inflicted blows and damages.
“We remain troubled by the ongoing undermining of the progressive policies, especially economic policies, by the remnants of the 1996 class project that are regrouping in the ANC and [the] government, especially the Treasury,” Ntshalintshali said.
The Cosatu committee also resolved to hire a team of legal experts to follow the various commissions of inquiry under way. Cosatu affiliates such as the National Union of Mineworkers and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union were mentioned at the state capture inquiry as alleged benefactors of corrupt dealings.
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“The federation has taken a decision to put together a legal team to start following the ongoing commissions of inquiry so that they can follow the proceedings and open cases where necessary. The time for indecisiveness is over for law enforcement agencies,” Ntshalintshali said.
Although the government has already made a decision on the unbundling of Eskom, Cosatu said it will convene technical experts from its affiliates to seek alternatives.
The federation said it has also requested the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) to convene meetings with social partners, including the ministers of energy, finance and mineral resources to discuss further the decision to unbundle Eskom.
Organised labour has rejected the move in which the power utility will be split into three entities, warning that it will result in mass job losses and the privatisation of the company.
Meanwhile, Cosatu has also filed a section 77 application at Nedlac requesting permission to embark on a national strike against the VAT increase effected in 2018.