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Johannesburg - Factionalism in the tripartite alliance plays into the hands of opponents, SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande said on Thursday.
“Organisational weaknesses and factionalism within our formations plays into the hands of our class opponents, and encourages all manner of populist demagogues and workerists (sic) to exploit the situation,” he said in a speech prepared for delivery at the Congress of SA Trade Unions' (Cosatu) bargaining conference.
“A principled and radical programmatic unity of Cosatu and its affiliates and between Cosatu and its alliance partners is absolutely imperative.”
He said the problems with Cosatu and its affiliates had multiple causes.
“We respect and salute the independence of the federation... however the SACP has raised with Cosatu our concern that a rejectionist stance against some of government’s policies... has weakened, rather than strengthened, Cosatu’s ability,” Nzimande said.
He said the members of the alliance could not act opportunistically when it suited them.
Cosatu also needed to concentrate on its standing in the workplace.
“Unless Cosatu pays attention to its organisational strength in the workplace, its broader social, economic and political influence will remain a pipe-dream.”
Nzimande said the conference was taking place while there was a “huge and intensified” attack against Cosatu.
“A huge class offensive against the progressive labour movement... has now reached a point where sections of capital now think it is strong enough to strike some fatal blows against the labour movement.
“It is no accident that the first huge strike is against the NUM 1/8National Union of Mineworkers 3/8, the largest Cosatu affiliate, thus striking at the heart of the federation.”
Nzimande said the attack against the NUM was related to the “bogus call” for the nationalisation of mines.
“It is also no accident that elements within the ranks of our movement who were supporting this bogus call on nationalisation are the ones who are in the forefront of trying to destroy, if not out-organise, the NUM,” he said. - Sapa