ANC, SA ‘on downward slide’ – Cosatu

Zine George

THE ANC and South Africa are on a “downward slide”, Cosatu stated in its political report. The report was presented yesterday by newly re-elected general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi during the union’s 11th conference in Midrand.

The “downward slide”, the report stated, was due to delegates to the ANC’s Mangaung conference focusing on the leadership contest, with policy questions falling by the wayside.

The ANC is preparing for its branch audits which will determine which branches are in good standing and qualify to send delegates to the conference.

Vavi described the audit process as “a grinding machine”.

“You have to be part of this machinery to control the conference. Nearly everyone there has a material stake in the results. Principle is replaced by politics of power and patronage.”

He said tenderpreneurs in ANC ranks were compromising the process as the December elective conference was now divided according to factions.

“Divisions are so deep that talk of a second phase of the transition is mere lip service. The ANC is too weak and divided to drive a new agenda.”

The report also pointed to an “emerging organisational crisis”, in which the ANC, in particular, is increasingly racked by factionalism, patronage and corruption.

“Struggles are increasingly over control of the levers of accumulation. Those challenging these abuses find their lives in danger.

“There is growing social distance between the leadership and the rank and file … This crisis is systemic and relates to broader crises in the state and society.”

Vavi warned the ANC about the possibility of losing part of its electorate in 2014, due to voter apathy. In the process, he said, the Democratic Alliance was making inroads on the minorities.

He attributed the possible drop in ANC voter numbers in 2014 to the party becoming “increasingly discredited in broader society”.

Vavi said this would impact negatively on the unions. “Having placed all its eggs in the ANC basket, the left finds itself marginalised – [as] the ANC is seen as a discredited faction that has betrayed the people, and the party and Cosatu are perceived to have been part of that betrayal.

“Ordinary people will rightly question why, having repeatedly been given an overwhelming mandate to lead transformation of society, our government has continued to advance policies which in effect entrench the structures of power and privilege in society, with modifications aimed at incorporating a new elite while the lives of poor communities and working people continue to be characterised by poverty, disease, ignorance and unemployment.”

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