Johannesburg - Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has lashed out at the ANC for acting like a “wedge driver at every turn” to divide the working class.
Vavi on Tuesday gave the strongest hint that he might break ranks with the ANC-led tripartite alliance and possibly join Numsa’s mooted independent workers’ party if the union’s special national congress decides on this course.
“It is clear that the post-apartheid state is a capitalist state… Is it not the time to build a movement to plant the seeds for the germination of a movement for socialism - a broad anti-capitalist front?” Vavi asked, addressing a Treatment Action/Section27 Leadership School in Joburg.
Vavi appeared to support metalworkers’ union Numsa’s assertion that some alliance leaders targeted the union for political reasons. He accused them of trying to silence critics by branding them as “counter-revolutionary”. “The corrupt and self-serving oligarchs will always see you as an irritation and will not hesitate to hire assassins to murder us.”
This came as the tit-for-tat public spats between senior tripartite alliance leaders continued on Tuesday. This time, the outspoken Numsa called for lifestyle audits on members of the ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) and others.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim and his deputy Karl Cloete lambasted SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande for his call that they be subjected to independent lifestyle audits for their alleged business interests in the union’s investment company and its subsidiaries.
They accused the SACP boss of hypocrisy as he himself had once labelled Vavi “a populist” when he called for lifestyle audits on public officials.
“However, we recognise this as opportunism from Blade Nzimande and his friends in the SACP,” Jim and Cloete said.
They dismissed Nzimande’s allegations that they were “longstanding business partners” in Numsa Investment Company as “frivolous” and as a ploy to distract Numsa from its special national congress starting on December 13.
Jim and Cloete also accused Nzimande and his deputy Jeremy Cronin of rendering the SACP into an “impotent” and “hollow monopoly-capitalist front”. This, they said, had denied the party its autonomous leadership and character as “a socialist vanguard of the working class”.
The pair added that while Numsa welcomed the calls for lifestyle audits on them, the same must apply to all tripartite alliance leaders.
“All leaders of the alliance and MDM (Mass Democratic Movement) formations must be subjected to it.”
Suggesting that corruption was widespread within the tripartite alliance, Jim and Cloete said such an audit would help people to know who the “receptionists of white monopoly capital and imperialism” in post-1994 South Africa were.
ANC national spokesman Jackson Mthembu on Tuesday night promised to comment on Vavi’s statement, but had not done so at the time of publication.