29 May 2014

South Africa: Cosatu Ceasefire - ANC Takes the Wheel


The statement released by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) after its three-day central executive committee meeting contained several curious lines. But nothing was more surprising than the use of the term "unanimously" regarding the agreements reached.

The last time Cosatu was unanimous about anything was 18 years ago when it decided the Growth, Employment and Redistribution (Gear) macroeconomic strategy was the work of the devil. Cosatu claims it has put its numerous battles in abeyance pending the outcome of an ANC intervention. What it has done is concede that its leadership is incapable of sorting out its troubles and handed the responsibility over to the ANC.

If there were really unanimity around the decisions reached during the Cosatu central executive committee (CEC) meeting this week, the largest affiliate, metalworkers' union Numsa, would not be gathering its own executive together this weekend to decide how to react. Numsa was most affected by the decisions taken at the Cosatu CEC, and though its leaders are keeping mum for now, expecting them to do so for the next month is being highly optimistic.

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