Cosatu. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Cosatu. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Union federation Cosatu has thrown its weight behind the ANC ahead of the 2019 general elections with its congress resolving to vote and campaign for the party.

The affirmation follows a lengthy debate between the federation’s affiliates at its 13th national congress this week.

In its political discussion document, Cosatu said it re-affirms its position to support the ANC in 2019, while working with the SACP to build a popular left-wing movement. Although Cosatu has already decided it would support the ANC during the next polls, it also has to consider its stance on the SACP’s resolution to explore the possibility of contesting for state power on its own.

Cosatu is in an alliance with the ANC and the SACP.

However, the federation’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said during an interview with Business Day on the sidelines of the congress that its support for the ANC will not come without conditions.

"There is no free lunch, no blank cheque — when you vote you choose that party because you have a belief that party must be able to do things for you in a better way. At the same time, [delegates] recognise that the mission of the ANC and the SACP is not the same. We want socialism and the party does not want socialism. But it wants to improve the lives of people."

The congress has also resolved to wait for a decision over its support for the SACP if it contests elections on its own.

Said Ntshalintshali, "[Delegates] said ‘let’s engage with the party’ because the next elections will be after our next congress and we will debate after [that] where we stand on this particular issue. But for 2019, we are going to vote for the ANC and want an overwhelming majority [for] the ANC."