‘Too late to unite tripartite alliance’
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s call for a more unified tripartite alliance is too little, too late, according to some analysts.
They maintain that the already strained relations between the ANC, SACP and Cosatu are bound to worsen as the ruling party finds itself at a crossroads.
In his January 8 statement address at Orlando Stadium at the weekend, Zuma said late ANC leader Oliver Tambo highlighted the importance of the ANC body and its alliance partners in strengthening each other.
“We inherited this strategic alliance, which was forged in the crucible of Struggle, and we dare not be cavalier in how we treat one another and our alliance,” Zuma said, adding the ANC’s task was to unite the alliance, to guard it jealously and not to tear it apart.
But political analyst Prince Mashele believes Zuma’s impassioned plea should have been outlined a long time ago.
“The president’s call is important, but it’s too late. It is late in the sense that you can’t make a call like this in an elective year. The party is bound to split into various factions supporting different candidates in the lead-up to the elective conference in December. He (Zuma) should have made the call for unity long before this moment. He himself should have (stood) as the glue that unites the alliance,” he said.
“The SACP has been very vocal about the state capture of the ANC. It is not happy about it. Similarly, Cosatu has been weakened by the split within its organisation. It hasn’t been speaking with a united voice. Therefore, the alliance is weak because the mother body itself is feeble.”
Professor Susan Booysen, of the Wits School of Governance, described the alliance as a shadow of its former self.
She said that while it had been a known fact that the SACP had been strong and loyal to the ruling party, it was rapidly turning away from the ANC.
“One cannot criticise the SACP and Cosatu without looking at what has gone wrong in the ANC and how credible or not the ruling party is.
“One thing we know is that President Zuma is a factional leader, and as a result, the call of unity doesn’t come from a credible source.
“I’m not sure if there is anyone who has the ability to unite the alliance,” Booysen said.
In reaction to the January 8 statement, the SACP said the country needed a united, and not factionalised, ANC, adding it embraced the ruling party’s theme of Unity in Action.
Cosatu, on the other hand, said the alliance needed to regain its political coherence to robustly pursue and fulfil the goals and aspirations of “our people”.
“We need to defend and consolidate the convergence that has existed within the ANC-led alliance around the need for a fundamental and more radical phase of our democratic transition.”
The union federation warned that the ANC needed to exorcise itself of the culture of accumulation, which had allowed capital to influence the content and direction of its revolution.