The ANC risked losing working class support unless it tackled poverty, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Friday.
“The liberation movement has the risk of falling out of favour with the working class,” he told the 13th national congress of the SA Communist Party, held near Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal.
In his address to the almost 2 000 delegates, Vavi said the members of the tripartite alliance agreed on what needed to be done, but lacked political will, “which leaves much to be desired”.
He said on average the position of black South Africans had deteriorated since the advent of democracy in 1994.
“We have not benefited for the past 18 years. There is no debate (on this fact). In economic terms it is capital that has ripped the fruit of our hard-earned freedom.”
He said that for economic transformation there needed to be unity in the tripartite alliance.
“No economic transformation can be led by a divided factionalised organisation.”
Vavi said that the working class was angry and frustrated because the “apartheid fault lines remained, in economic terms”.
“There has been a reverse redistribution from the poor to the rich.”
He said blacks on average tended to earn eight times less than whites – the same income inequality that existed in 1962 at the height of apartheid.
President Jacob Zuma was due to address the congress later in the day. – Sapa