Political parties ‘knocking on the door’ – UF

Picture: Neil McCartney.

A number of political parties have expressed interest in joining forces with the United Front, its national working committee said on Thursday.

“They’ve been knocking on the door,” NWC member Dinga Sikwebu told reporters in Johannesburg.

“More than five political parties have said they want to come [join the UF].”

However, the organisation was still discussing whether to align itself with any political parties.

It was also discussing whether it should form its own political party to contest the local government elections next year.

Sikwebu said its preparatory assembly in December debated the issue and the matter was referred back to its structures.

“This is an area of ongoing discussion.”

The UF was formed by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA following its decision in 2013 to stop supporting the African National Congress.

The union was also expelled from the Congress of SA Trade Unions, an ANC alliance partner, last year in November.

The UF planned on officially launching at the end of June this year.

Sikwebu said there had been a discussion how the organisation would be funded and certain broad principles had been agreed on.

“The first one is that the Front must fund itself. Its membership, the affiliates must fund it,” he said.

“No one is going to fund our struggle. We’ve seen how noble causes have been defeated.”

It wanted to be self-sustainable.

However, it was aware that unemployed, poor people would not be able to pay membership fees. They would be urged to give of their time.

Sikwebu said people could pay “in cash and in kind”.

He said by the time the UF held its assembly last year 71 mass organisations had joined.

NWC member Mazibuko Jara said work was underway and it was putting together a list. It wanted a minimum of 500 organisations linked to its cause.

The UF’s NWC co-convenor Kwezilomso Mbandazayo said the organisation was launching a number of campaigns in the run-up to its official launch later this year.

The first would be an alternative state-of-the-nation address the day before President Jacob Zuma presents his in Parliament on February 12.

“As it has always done, the ANC government is going to dress up the state-of-the-nation address and the 2014/2015 budget under the misleading language of a caring developmental state with even a few concessions to social expenditure,” she said.

“The ANC government has stuck to the neo-liberal economic policy script of private sector-led capitalist growth as a silver bullet to all our socio-economic problems.”

The organisation claimed that government’s programme of action and the budget would be about austerity.

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