TRADE union federation Cosatu – the ANC’s biggest ally – will this week announce whether it is satisfied with the party’s performance on policy decisions and implementation.
With less than two weeks to go to the ANC policy conference in Midrand, Gauteng Cosatu – which has 1.3-million members – is close to completing an assessment of the ANC national executive committee (NEC) on whether it delivered on promises to implement economic and labour policies in its current term in office.
This comes as various union leaders and ANC provinces have called for changes to the NEC, the ANC’s most powerful structure. Patrick Craven, the spokesman for Cosatu, refused to divulge details of the assessment, but said the union would reveal details at a press conference "probably towards the end of the week”.
Asked if Cosatu was satisfied with the ruling party’s progress in implementing policy shifts related to labour and the economy, Craven said: "At this stage, we would not want to communicate anything related to the assessment. We would much rather wait until [this week] to make an announcement on the overall assessment.”
While Cosatu has so far enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the ANC – including a recent decision to form a joint task team to probe funding models for the controversial e-tolls on Gauteng freeways – unions have found themselves frustrated at the government’s refusal to meet their demands.
Some within the alliance have said it is crucial for President Jacob Zuma to keep the unions happy and tripartite alliance relations solid in order to secure another term.
Cosatu and some of its affiliates voiced concerns at how certain leaders within the ANC’s NEC held differing views on various policies, especially nationalisation-related proposals that they felt were dictated by the Freedom Charter.
Among the issues that Cosatu is unhappy with are:
- Labour Law amendments, most of which the union views as a threat to their bargaining power and their right to strike; and
- The Department of Labour’s reluctance to ban labour broking, which was central to Cosatu’s decision to go on a strike in March.
Earlier this month, Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi said the ANC needed to change its mind-set "urgently” to end the alarming poverty, unemployment and inequalities, before voters lost their patience.