Just when South Africans thought that rifts within the alliance were a thing of the past post-Zuma versus Mbeki, along comes the next big one. This time it is Cosatu taking on what it considers to be the anti-left elements within the ANC.
If regard is had to the Reuters article (click on link) then it appears to be that the primary areas of concern relate to the economy and Cosatu’s perception that certain members of the ANC’s national executive committee are bitterly opposed to trade unions and the SACP.
Whereas previously it had been the ANCYL, Cosatu, the SACP and the left wing of the ANC who had stood firm with President Zuma against former president Thabo Mbeki, this time the lines are somewhat slightly more blurred.
On Sunday the SACP stated that it respected the ANC’s “multi-class character” and was committed to working with all its alliance partners. This was soon followed by its confirmation that it was examining the question of deployment to the ANC. This coming after the recent public spat between Cronin and Julius Malema over nationalisation.
The ANCYL itself appears to be committed to following a more leftist approach but at times acts as if it is a party all on its own. Certainly no feelings are spared when senior members of the alliance cross swords with them.
Cosatu under Vavi are more powerful than ever before yet have not achieved the results they desire in terms of areas such as central bank independence and inflation-targeting. This appears to be ruffling more than just a few feathers particularly when these key areas come up for debate.
Which leaves the ANC, who are in power having gathered strength from the support of those set out above. Undoubtedly they are left of the ANC of Mbeki and should be more or less in sync with other members of the alliance.
Apparently for some inexplicable reason this is not the case.
In the ordinary course South Africans would be entitled to believe that this could easily be sorted out through meetings and open debate rather than through the media and threats. The parties concerned are after all supposed to be singing from the same hymn book.
Unfortunately, however, this does not appear to be the case and though it is nice to hear that the SACP respects the diversity of the ANC as well as the alliance partners constantly reassuring each other that all is well, it is hard to escape from the Zuma versus Mbeki trauma. In that instance and far too often the party denied there being any rift while the factions tore each other to shreds. This coincidentally while blaming the media for the fight.
South Africa, with all due respect to those involved, cannot financially or emotionally afford another alliance war. It is time for the individual parties to get together to sort this one out quickly and advise anyone who breaks ranks to start looking for a new party outside of the alliance.
Nip it in the bud before the groupings even start to form.
For everyone’s sake.