William Saunderson-Meyer
William Saunderson-Meyer

SA’s Tripartite Alliance: ‘He loves me, he loves me not…’

It’s on, it’s cootchy-coo. No, it’s off, it’s divorce. Monitoring South Africa’s governing alliance is a bit like watching a low-grade soapie starring a fractious married couple.

Or more accurately, an eternally bickering ménage à trois, with two parties always ganging up on the third, but with loyalties shifting constantly. Sometimes it is the African National Congress siding with the SA Communist Party against the unionists, as it was recently with the National Development Plan (NDP), which the communists endorsed in principle.

But that was a month ago, a long time in a volatile relationship. This week the SACP shifted away from the ANC and closer to the position of the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

Now the SACP argues that the NDP needs to be looked at again because it was the result of ‘a fabricated, bland consensus’. Never mind that in December at Mangaung, all three parties passed a resolution endorsing the NDP and noting that part of its value was that it was drafted ‘conscious of the need to unite South Africans in action around a common vision and programme of change’.

Instead, the SACP now wants a ‘state planning commission’, composed of people with ‘organic’ links to the alliance, to produce a new plan. In other words, it wants to drive the ideological shape of a new plan unfettered by compromise. This has pleased the powerful mineworkers union no end, which commended the SACP on seeing the light regarding the ‘neoliberal outlook and anti working class posture’ of the NDP.

Guptagate is another example of manoeuvring between the partners, as they jockey for primacy. When the news broke that President Jacob Zuma’s pals had commandeered an air force base to land a jetload of wedding guests, thus avoiding the inconvenience of passports and customs, there was an uproar.

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe slammed this ‘breach of national security’ and said it showed how ‘poor political judgement … can plunge the country into trouble’.

He made unexpected common cause with Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, the man whose ouster as leader the ANC previously backed because of his criticisms of the party and of Zuma. Vavi warned that the ‘real culprits’ had to be exposed not ‘scapegoats’ who could not have taken such an ‘obviously politically sensitive decision’ in what was fast becoming a ‘banana republic’.

This week the Justice ministry’s report on Guptagate was released and, as Vavi warned, it is a cover-up. The air base is not a National Key Point after all, it’s a Strategic Military Base, which falls under other legislation, so no sweat on that accord.

And certainly no one important in government did anything wrong, especially not Zuma. What happened was all simply part of a ‘negative culture of name-dropping’.

In response, the ANC as party structure, standing apart from government, quickly broke ranks with Cosatu and rejoined the fold. Mantashe now declared that people will always name drop and there really was no need for Zuma to explain his relationship with the Gupta family to the ANC.

Cosatu has remained silent, but David Lewis, executive director of Corruption Watch, a Cosatu initiative, said that ‘name dropping’ trivialised ‘ the doings of a family … capable of commanding extraordinary privilege based on their relationships with senior public figures, clearly including the president’.

The root of the problem was ‘starkly inappropriate relationships between senior people in public life and elements of the business community’. It would not be resolved by the ‘frankly silly proposal to make ‘name-dropping’ a disciplinary offence’.

But all these squabbles don’t divide the trio, Mantashe has confided. Echoing the language of the marriage therapists, he said: ‘If we can actually talk about it, it will actually pull us together.’

Isn’t that great for the Alliance? No need for us to call in the domestic violence unit, after all. Meanwhile, while the trio have been throwing around the household crockery, the rand hit a four-year low over concerns about labour unrest and economic vulnerability, and political inertia remains the order of the day.

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  • The weakness of the ANC
  • Part 6 of 6: Speeches
  • Part 5 of 6: Plenary
  • Part 4 of 6: Caucus
    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      Your yearning for the old order of the autocratic National Party, where everything was simply black and white and everyone had their place, and toed the party line, is all to apparent,
      Democracy is a MESSY business, so the constantly shifting alliances in the Tripartite Alliance is expected, it seems like this fundamental aspect of democracy is still missing from your jaundiced understanding of the basic democratic process.

    • Theo Marx

      @Dave Harris, you attack the man instead of the work. And your boring reference to NP and vulgar reference to whites just reveals that you do not belong in a democracy. Its people like you that proclaim to know something about democracy but fail to live by its rules. I also notice that you are one of those libtards still talking about a rainbow nation. What rainbow nation? You should awake from that lala land of libtards and face the realities.

    • Dave Haggis

      How dare you attack the glorious three parts of the revolution! Note I use the word democracy and democratic so may times, you may start thinking I have the same cynicism and contempt for real democracy as the toxic political elite who pay my propagandist salary! The three part alliance provides so much wisdom and insight to our glorious democracy – first we have the Communists, who are such great democrats that they love the totalitarian dictatorships of Lenin and Stalin. Then we have the unionists, who are so democractic they are happy to destroy major industries and export jobs to China, all the time forcing people democractically out of work whilst democratically arranging hit jobs on other unions. Then we have the crony capitalists, or racial nationalists, who prey off the state with their tender fraud, driving their big Mercedes Benzes, stealing money from the poor, and blaming other races whilst chuckling to themselves at the ignorance of the poor. Isn’t it a wonderful democracy of the elite – and their propagandists!

    • History Repeats

      The last time Communists and racial nationalists were allied so closely was in 1939 with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. And just as then, it’s an uneasy alliance – an alliance of convenience, with the only purpose being destruction, opportunism and cynicism. In that case it resulted in the occupation and partition of an entire country in Eastern Europe, and 5 years of agony for Europe afterwards. God help SA from the long term consequences of such a dreadful alliance in this country.

    • http://www.tiltrepublic.com christopher steenkamp

      Yo Dave, please tell me you sound like that because you’re paid to by some governmental PR campaign and not because that’s how you think. Please.

    • http://www.tiltrepublic.com christopher steenkamp

      @Dave Harris, I think you’ll find more solidarity in the News24 comment section.

    • John

      As long as we have a totally inadequate leader – his bad examples will be followed. Sadly becomes a habit eventually!

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      @ Theo Marx

      What makes you think Dave Harris is even South African, or African for that matter? He sounds like the Boston Bomber type ex-pat “African” to me!

    • Mr Sarcasm

      @Dave Harris

      “while the trio have been throwing around the household crockery, the rand hit a four-year low over concerns about labour unrest and economic vulnerability, and political inertia remains the order of the day.”

      Thanks, you answer this question raised by WSM so succinctly. 😉

    • Charlotte

      There we go again. Right off the mark! With bated breath and fingers poised, DH can’t wait to tell us once again why WSM is not one of the most experienced political journalists in S Africa or one of its top writers.
      Who wouldn’t be convinced by DH’s regular reminders that WSM is not one of the most astute and fair political columnists we have?

      Of course, whereas William turns out an excellent commentary on a different subject each week (and isn’t paid by any political party to be its stooge), DH never changes his. If nothing else, at least he is persistent … .
      Repetitive, yes Boring, yes. Ill-informed, yes But definitely persistent. One can rely on DH to come up with his usual same-old same-old cr— …um, criticism. . Yawn.

      Of course it may be a personality thing. Perhaps its jealousy? Perhaps DH likes to see this fake name in print. .Perhaps the money is just too good (ANC money always is) …or maybe he really needs the money (A troll also has a job to do, you know.)
      Feel sorry for the guy, man. I mean – all he does is strengthen the opposition. ….

    • lionel

      This will become academic, once Vavi’s been kicked out of COSATU by Zuma’s guys.

    • ConCision

      ANC Birds of a Feather Flock Together –
      But Only to Feather Their Own Nests
      Two’s a couple and three’s a crowd
      And the Guptas are also allowed

      Q: What keeps the Alliance Partners
      Together as ‘friends’ at this time?
      A: “I scratch your back
      If you scratch mine.”

    • mika venter

      Dave Harris go home you are drunk.

    • Ground Zero

      Time to fire NUMBER ONE.

    • bernpm

      Copied from Dave’s blog:
      “Growing up in the dark days of the apartheid era, one quickly learns how easy it is to slip across that fine line that demarcates one’s ever present shadow side that lurks within each of us, from our humanity. I will continue to speak out against injustice and lingering racism still pervasive in our communities and support peaceful transformation initiatives that enables us to realize our true potential as a society. Having witnessed the brutality of apartheid up close, and my extensive travels and exposure to other cultures, I believe that a vibrant multi-party democracy, truly representative of all South Africans, will make our dream of a Rainbow Nation, a reality in our lifetime.”

      The last sentence: “……I believe that a vibrant multi-party democracy, truly representative of all South Africans, will make our dream of a Rainbow Nation, a reality in our lifetime” seems to show his sincere commitment to democracy and still working towards fulfilling the dream of the rainbow nation.

      As we all have dreams in our lives, we should leave other people theirs. Dreams are not necessarily always realistic. Then it would not be dreams.

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      @christopher steenkamp
      Unlike the apartheid government who enriched their indoctrinated supporters for generations, a democracy functions best when we encourage diversity in thinking and learn to love, respect and tolerate even those whose views we disagree with.

      Your name calling and intimidation is futile. Besides, remember that my comments are not meant for William’s sock puppets.

      @Theo Marx
      The vulgarity is the how the self-proclaimed “opposition” party resorts to window dressing to hide the fact that the DA largely consists of former National Party supporters.

      @mika venter
      Thanks for reminding me how little we understand each other sometimes. Peace out.

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      “As we all have dreams in our lives, we should leave other people theirs.”
      Agreed, so what is William’s dream for our country, apart from constantly engaging in bitter, mean-spirited criticism of the majority government?

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      From Ghana to South Africa, African states have gone bankrupt within a decade, dragged down by the expectations of the Black Diaspora for them to re-create an open borders Mythical Pan Africa which was fantasised by the exiled Black Diaspora; and is taught in the Western Universities as Egyptology, or African Studies, or African Renaissance studies.

      This mythical Africa had a culture which jumped the Sahara Desert and the swamps of the Sudd (something neither Julius Caesar or Alexander the Great could do) and spread over the whole of Sub Saharan Africa, and was somehow destroyed in the short period of European Colonisation from 1885 to the 1960s (less than 100 years) but not in the 1000 years of Arab colonisation which preceded it and started in the 9th century.

      So instead of trying to unite the tribes of the 54 countries of Africa (including the 11 tribes of SA) countries like Ghana and South Africa threw open their borders to all the tribes and jumped straight into trying to unite the Whole of Africa and ALL its 3000 tribes – first as the Organisation of African Unity, and then as the African Union.

    • Chartered Course

      Melanie Verwoerd, author of ‘The Verwoerd who Toyi-Toyied’, and who was a staunch ANC supporter, was interviewed on the radio last week and asked whether she would support the present ANC.
      She said she could not answer as she had been out of the country for the past few years – but added that many whom she had supported previously, had disappointed so badly, that she did not recognise the ANC as being the same organisation as it was in the days of Nelson Mandela and previously.
      And, of course, it isn’t.

      It is, as WSM describes ‘fractious .. bickering …loyalties shifting … volatile ..’.
      The ANC today is a selfish, greedy, corrupt and inept government which has spurred ‘the rand hitting a 4-year low over concerns about labour unrest, political vulnerablity and poltitcal inertia.”

      B.t.w. these quotes appears in the front of Melanie Verwoerd’s book: ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” – Martin Luther King, jnr. and “What you cannot do is accept injustice. You must make the injustice visible ..” – Gandhi.
      Great article. Take a bow, William!

    • Wow

      @Dave harris, if you look back in history you get a good idea of how we should focus on achieving democracy in South Africa. Thomas jefferson noted that when society fears the government there is tyrrany. but, when the government fears the people you have liberty. Our government thinks that they are above reprisal for any of the actions that they take. I can note numerous examples of how JZ and the ANC have broken the law, been subject to corruption, gross mismagement and nepotism. And yet, nothing gets done about it. You wont see this with the blinkered approach you take to politics, but there is a direct correlation between service delivery protests and the unnaproachability or transparency of government. Hush hush the secrecy bill is coming.

      So keep taking aim at people who present different opinions to what you are told to believe, but remember the measure of democracy is also related to how differing points of views are recieved and considered. So by your daily utterings on thoughtleader and the actions of the ruling party, I believe that the ANC will be out of power soon or no longer a democratic organisation.

    • Wow

      @ Dave Harris with the ironic quote of the week and its only Monday “Unlike the apartheid government who enriched their indoctrinated supporters for generations, a democracy functions best when we encourage diversity in thinking and learn to love, respect and tolerate even those whose views we disagree with.”

      Based on the above, why won’t you let anybody hold an opinion that differs from yours or the ANC? Very ironic. Especially when you consider the fact that you only back up your assertions by citing your own blog, which doesnt contain any published work.

      Very ironic indeed.

    • Racist in ANCspeak means someone who thinks (differently from them)

      There is another way in which the Z-ANC reminds one of the Nats.

      Having achieved their major goals (Republic, own currency, control of the civil service, etc) there was nothing to bind the Nats together except power. First the Afrikaner blue collar left-behinds left with the HNP (lead by a very learned and cultured Dr Albert Hertzog) then the doctrinaire ideologues left with the Conservative Party (whose leader, Dr Andries Treurnicht, used to speak a “high Afrikaans” in Parliament to tweek PW Botha, finally the party simply folded and found power within the ANC, with some bittereindes in the FF+ and a few veligtes in the DA.

      The Z-ANC has reached its goal of throwing off minority white rule. Instead of celebrating and letting each element go their own way and becoming a “normal country”, they are clinging to posts and power, the way the Nats did. It is only their racism which makes them think an Irwin Jim and a Cyril Ramaphosa still march to the same drum or that Comrade Tito and Comrade Zwelinzima have the same interests.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @WOW, Thomas Jefferson was a brilliant man and saw the future of the US. However, if he had practiced what he was preaching about freedom, he would have given his multi-racial children their freedom that Sally Henning had with him.

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      Firstly, the George Bush’s election shows that American democracy, as strong as it usually is, is also vulnerable to corruption by corporate media – a low point in American history. Our media mafia, hiding behind our free speech rights, engages in similar tactics used by Rupert Murdoch media empire.
      Secondly, our government has many flaws and we should be critical of it and encourage civil discourse. William, however, engages in name calling and demeans unnecessarily.
      Thirdly, my feedback and citing my blog is part of free speech that you can’t seem to grasp. Thoughtleader does not wish to publish my articles on land reform, racism, economic justice etc. for whatever reason and they have the right not to do so. My blog simply serves as a platform to view my PERSPECTIVES in more depth since the length of comments are restricted and also need to adhere Thoughleader’s proprietary guidelines.

    • fonebone

      @ WOW,

      But you see, there’s no point in citing any one elses work or entertaining alternative points of view when you absolutely know that you are irrefutably right…

    • Wow

      @Dave harris, I do not see how referring to organisations/their representatives based on quotes from these stakeholders can be construed as demeaning. You seem to attack the author rather than the information he presents, which doesnt add value to your argument.

      And just for the record i do fully understand free speach, i just based my statements in terms of how an academic dissertation would be received if a large percentage of the references were unpublished….not well. An argument gains weight when you discuss issues and draw conclusions from supporting AS WELL AS opposing points of view. There is very little scientific rigour found in arguing your thoughts in terms of your own point of view supporting facts only. It weakens your argument totally.

      So that is why I am critical of your perspective of “encouraging civil discourse” but totally refusing an opposing point of view. It smacks of subjective reporting, which is weak.

    • Citizen Cane

      Dave Harris: If the blog you keep advertising freely on Thought Leader (or your ‘platform’ which you pump yourself up with) expresses your views, then let your ‘supporters’ or people who are interested in them, to go to it and discover ‘your perspectives in more depth’.
      …. Or write a book. See how many publishers would be interested in printing your ‘Blacks-Only-Racism-Based-On-The-Old- Nationalist-Party’ invective. See how many readers would buy it – or bother to get past the first paragraph – never mind the first page…. Stand for ANC election – see how many votes you get – or start your own political party.

      You should be grateful that T Leader allows you a voice for your biased ”Blacks-Only-Racism-Based-On-The-Old-Nationalist Party” mantra(- and publicity for your blog -free of charge) – which is constantly being denounced, proved wrong, refuted and ridiculed by many intelligent, sensible and concerned readers and commenters of Thought Leader.

      Don’t you get it? We’ve heard what you have to say – not once, not twice – but over and over again! It doesn’t wash! Advertise your blog on the internet. Write articles to the newspapers. Go to the Guptas. (Try ’The New Age’. They might go for it if you pay them to publish it.) Find another platform. Move on! We’re sick and tired and hearing your belligerent racist rants.

    • http://southafricana.blogspot.com Dave Harris

      “quotes from these stakeholders”?!
      Just google William Saunderson-Meyer’s old blogs and you will see a distinct strain of bitterness focused on belittling and undermining black leadership and African culture throughout all his writings. Again, its not WHAT you say but HOW you say it that critical to “civil discourse”.

      “And just for the record i do fully understand free speach”
      Apparently not, or we wouldn’t be having this conversation. LOL
      William is provided an opportunity to air his view, I provide my feedback via the restricted comments section adhering to Thoughtleader’s comment guidelines.

      @Citizen Cane
      Seems like your pseudonym itself reflects your deep longing to continue to own and control our media in the same way as that old publishing tycoon”Citizen Kane” did. Fortunately, there is no place for this old world order of media tycoons in our brave new world. We need diversity and competition in media ownership to represent ALL of our diverse society and not the privileged minority that our media mafia currently speaks for.

      Saying that I should be “grateful” that Thoughleader allows free speech reveals your fundamental misunderstanding of free speech rights in a democracy.
      btw. If you don’t like what I have to say in my blog, then just don’t click on it! Duh!

    • mika venter

      @ Dave Harris

      You unashamedly promote your blog on TL and then with your track record ad-hominem attacks on Mr Meyer you have lost all credibility. Nothing you post and say can be taken as value anymore, not even what you post on your blog. You are now just white noise, a laughable entity.

      And hence my respond to you. You do not deserve any better type of response any more.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Dave Harris, why are you against abolishing feudalism in SA/Africa? This in itself is a form of land reforms that take the power from the tribal chiefs. There can never be equality in SA as long as there is feudalism in that country.

    • Charlotte

      How like Saint Dave to rejoice and repeat from his blog –‘ democracy; diversity; love; respect; tolerance’ and other pretensions – yet every one of his racist tirades, reinforces his hatred for whites and coloureds….

      And omg!! He forgot to say ‘BOA’ in his last 5 outpourings! … Therefore, I retract his credit for ‘persistency'; and will just leave him as being rude,unsubstantiated, racist, feeding from the ANC gravy train spill – and, of course, boring.
      And with the alliance partners now stabbing Vavi in the back (see Zapiro – I also forgot to mention Saint Dave’s prime objective – which is to divert the topic.

      Saint Dave avers that ‘his comments are not meant for William’s sock puppets’. Who, pray tell, are they meant for? Whose mind is he changing? Who has he influenced to accept as okay, ANC greed, theft, affluence and effluence? – besides Tofolux?

      The shocking state of government corruption, instability, inefficiency and ineptitude (starting with no 1) – with no consequences; the out-of-control rape, killing and criminality, daily illegal violent strikes and ‘protests’ with rampant looting and destruction of property, clearly shows the hijacked Z-ANC’s descent from ‘Arrogance, Nepotism ,Corruption’ to ‘A National Calamity’, to what it is now –
      A Nar Chy.
      Let us no longer pretend … (The pretending can be left to Saint Dave.) .

    • Charlotte

      Better word: ’emissions’ rather than ‘outpourings’

    • Citizen Cane

      @ Dave Harris
      1. Save your lectures for someone who may be interested – if you can find anyone
      2.. btw. What makes you think I would ever click on to your blog? Duh!

    • Wow

      @Dave Harris, nowhere does this author belittle leaders on the basis of being black. That is your subjective perspective owing to the constant need to being the issue of race into a debate about good governance. So you constantly air your prejudices. The fact that the commentator is white shouldnt matter, but you make it an issue.

      Additionally, the fact that Stats SA recently announced that RSA’s GDP growth rate for the first quarter was 0.9%, which pales in comaprison to our naighbours like Mozambique who are moving forward at 7%.

      So I think the author is well within his rights to take critique the leadership of this country based on statements and facts that are readily available for public consumption.

    • Tofolux

      @will, an EU student(part of a student delegation to SA) asked a simple question of the SA’n delegation which is: Why are certain South Africans so judgemental? He wanted to know from which experience these “judges” relate to noting that they presided and endorsed a terrible and barbaric system, such as apartheid. Of late we are noting that these people are now declaring themselves as democrats but are unable to abide by democratic principles. Since when do we allow those who never fought for freedom now arrogate themselves into what or who is good for our country. In fact it was these very democrats who meted out gross violations. So, what qualifications do they have to question anything when everything we now do is the total opposite of what they gave us. Also we are aware that there is a clear program to divide Cosatu and the alliance.This is a very old apartheid tactic that was done in the media and on the ground. In fact we have seen all this before. So for all the support shown for this program, we are aware from which quarters they emanate. And the verbosity displayed against Dave displays a particular aggression and aggravation that we saw in the apartheid era. My question is, since you are trying to divide in order to rule, where is your committment to the democratic processes you supported post 1994. If the victims of apartheid decided to forgive you then what will they do now when they realise that you have no committment to processes?

    • Wow

      @Tofulux, firstly anybody who can see that 0.9% GDP growth for the first quarter in RSA is pathetic, reserves the right to be critical of our government. This is especially true when a large number of african states who also experienced the onslaught of colonialism are growing economically by 7%. There is a reason we are lagging behind and it is our government, or lack thereof.

      Secondly there are no longer these “third forces” trying to divide the alliances that the ANC forged. The divisions that we see are purely of the ANC, COSATU and the SACPs making.

      So enjoy the denialism, because the crumbling economy is a direct reflection of the state of the tripartite alliance.

    • ConCision

      To she, who always wants the last word
      If you weren’t so verbose, you might even be heard
      You also use words of which you don’t know the meaning
      And towards repetition and longwinded rambling you have a leaning
      – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – — – – – – – – –

      Lost in verbosity
      Applies to you dear
      Let’s add ‘animosity’
      To make it more clear
      But then there’s your banality:
      You’re incomprehensible I fear.

    • Tofolux

      @Wow, if Sa is so pathetic then pray tell us how the Chief Rep of the Bank of Tokyo can make a declaration that “SA is a sound investment destination”. Also tell us how Google invests R103mill in a power project in Upington today and how Nedbank is voted as the best bank in Africa for its socially responsibility and how:
      the income per capita is rising,public service is expanding,health indicators are improving,public finances are in better shape than in many OECD countries, how we are able to me the only African country in the G20, how we are part of Bricsa, how one of our leaders is the Chairperson of the AU, how we are called upon to act as mediators in warring countries on our continent, how the American President will now visit SA, how the Russian leader has called upon South Africa to lead and chair an important fora on an army for the African continent etc etc. I could go on and on but this narrow selectiveness is quite strange noting that these are all South African achievements to date. Also, if you think that 350yrs of oppression didnt teach us anything of certain and particular motive forces then I wonder whose mind has been oppressed during the oppressive years in the SA. I mean how do you think the tripartite alliance came into existence during these oppressive times?

    • Just a thought

      @tofulux I guess I should respond by reminding you that Jacob Zuma brought about a 2.5% plunge in the rand in one day, just by opening his mouth at one press conference about our economy. That shows investment confidence is very very shaky. Thanks for the attempted rebuttle, it made me chuckle.