The ANC is likely to be weaker after another affiliate of its alliance partner, trade union federation Cosatu, has decided to exit the federation.
The Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu), which has 131 000 members, cited Cosatu’s changing ideological character and silence in the face of problematic government policies as among the reasons it decided to cut ties with the federation.
“We have taken the view as Fawu that we need to make that known and disaffiliate from Cosatu,” union deputy general secretary Moleko Phakedi said yesterday in Johannesburg.
“We are also pronouncing that we are working towards establishing a new federation and a true working class political home, which will ultimately contest state power.”
Phakedi said Fawu leaders had been mishandled by Cosatu. “When we were raising issues we were perceived to be anti-Zuma and anti-ANC,” he said. Phakedi denied claims by Cosatu that the union owed R5 million in affiliation fees, saying: “It is just bitterness on the part of Cosatu.”
Fawu is one of the affiliate unions that have backed the National Union of Metalworkers of SA and former Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi in their battles against Cosatu.
Phakedi said the tripartite alliance between the ANC, the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Cosatu was dead.
“We are telling whoever cares, including Cosatu, that the alliance is dead,” he said.
“We have always contested that the strategic centre of power is the alliance. The ANC wants to be the power in it.”
Phakedi said the ANC was unable to deal with the issues that confronted it as an organisation.
“The ANC national executive committee is unable to give any meaningful direction to the movement. The level of confidence and trust that people have in the ANC is running out fast.”
Phakedi suggested the SACP would be best advised to leave the ANC-led alliance. “The SACP is co-opted,” he said.
“They are sitting in all layers of government but they don’t contest elections. The SACP should contest state power.”
Fawu refused to invite the ANC, the SACP or Cosatu to its national congress last week.