The ANC still behaves as a big brother and bully boy that continues to undermine its alliance components, trade union federation Cosatu and the SA Communist Party (SACP), despite some improvements in their relations under Cyril Ramaphosa.
This is one of the hot-potato issues tabled at the Cosatu 13th national congress in Midrand, north of Johannesburg this week.
In its political report, Cosatu said despite the smoothening interaction among the alliance components since Ramaphosa came to power, the ANC still treated its partners as “if they were its leagues or even as lobby groups”.
“This improvement in interactions among the alliance members is still in the same superficial and ad hoc mode of the past in which the ANC engaged other alliance components as a superior partner,” Cosatu said.
Much as it is a political hot-potato to both Cosatu and the SACP, the ANC has not yet moved or taken a clear stance on it. Even at its conference at Nasrec last December, the reconfiguration of the alliance was not on the table despite the continuous call from its allies for action.
Despite its complaint, it became clear at its ongoing congress that Cosatu was not yet ready to abandon the ANC. Rather, some affiliates advocated for Cosatu to swell the ranks of the ANC and continue to influence matters within the party.
Cosatu’s position might have been influenced by the SACP, which said it was not yet willing to contest the state power. Some workers hoped the SACP would run for election separately in 2019 as it did during local government elections at Metsimaholo in the Free State.
In its report, Cosatu attributed the ANC’s bullying attitude to its access to power and control of patronage via deployment post-1994. It said the ANC merely invited them as a formality to its own meetings where crucially strategic issues are on the table.
Even in those meetings when issues were jointly discussed, it became clear that the framework of such discussions was solely predetermined by the ANC.