ANC must look within itself to find its worst enemy
The Times Editorial: Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi yesterday warned of the dangers that Helen Zille and the DA pose for the ANC.
Speaking at a workers' conference in Centurion, near Pretoria, Vavi accused Zille of using unemployment and job creation to promote her party and present "herself as the new champion of the most marginalised in society, particularly the unemployed".
Vavi warned the ANC that Zille was trying to "endear herself to this marginalised South African population that is beginning to lose hope because we don't have a solution".
Though he accused Zille of being a pretender, Vavi was forced to acknowledge that her party was slowly making inroads into the "black vote". This was evident during the recent march by Zille and her supporters on Cosatu House, in Johannesburg, when the union federation's members found themselves faced with many black DA members and not just the white suburbanites they had expected.
Why does Vavi feel so threatened by the DA?
It is because Zille is stepping into the space left by an ANC that is increasingly alienating its traditional support base.
The ANC of Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, and the ANC of Jacob Zuma, do not appear to be the same to many black South Africans.
The fact that black South Africans are no longer summarily rejecting the DA abd are no longer voting according to emotion and historical allegiance, must sit rather uncomfortably with the ANC leadership.
However much Vavi and others want to dismiss Zille by calling her names, that will not solve their dilemma. Only the ANC has the power to halt the DA's progress.
But, as Vavi said yesterday, it will require the ANC to go to Mangaung in December not only to decide on new leaders but to grapple with a far more fundamental problem - deciding what kind of party it wants to be.