ANC awaits Cosatu's verdict
Trade union federation Cosatu - the ANC's biggest ally - is this week expected to say whether it is satisfied with the ruling party's policies and performance.
With just under two weeks to the ANC policy conference in Midrand, Gauteng, Cosatu is about to complete its assessment of the ANC's national executive committee - whether it has delivered on its promised economic and labour policies.
Some union leaders and ANC provinces have called for changes to the national executive committee, the ANC's most powerful decision-making body between conferences .
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven refused to divulge details of the assessment, saying the trade union federation was still finalising it and would make an announcement"probably towards the end of the week".
Asked if Cosatu were 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 don't want to discuss an isolated issue. We would much rather wait until [this week] to make an announcement."
Though Cosatu has so far enjoyed a fruitful relationship with the ANC - the two recently formed a joint team to investigate the funding of Gauteng e-tolling - unions have been frustrated by the government's refusal to meet their demands.
Some within the tripartite alliance have said it is crucial that President Jacob Zuma keep the unions happy and alliance relations solid for his political survival.
Cosatu and some of its affiliates voiced their concerns about certain leaders holding different views on policy, especially with respect to nationalisation.
Cosatu is expected to criticise the ANC for not implementing a shift in its macroeconomic polices to "sustain growth, job creation and poverty eradication", as stated in its Polokwane resolutions.
After the trade union federation's central executive committee meeting earlier this month, its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said the ruling party should "urgently" change its mindset to tackle the alarming levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality before voters lost their patience.
He said the ANC had moved "away from the radical approach of the Freedom Charter to transform the society".
"We are trying to re-interpret the Freedom Charter now [to say] 'No, we did not call for nationalisation, no, that's not what we meant' because we are busy appeasing the ruling elite in society.
"Unfortunately, it has been 18 years of our democracy [spent] appeasing. So, when we go to the ANC policy conference, and when we go to our own congress in September, there will only be one thing that we talk about: [that] unless we embrace radical policy changes again we are doomed."
The Freedom Charter states: "The mineral wealth beneath the soil, the banks and monopoly industry shall be transferred to the ownership of the people . ".
Other issues expected to dominate Cosatu's assessment are its anger over several labour proposals and policies that have been stalled at the National Economic Development and Labour Council, in which the Department of Labour negotiates social and economic policies with labour, business and community organisations.
The issues Cosatu is unhappy about include:
- Labour law amendments, most of which it views as a threat to its bargaining powers and the right to strike; and
- The Department of Labour's reluctance to ban labour broking.