Johannesburg - Tensions between Cosatu and the SA Communist Party were palpable during a bilateral meeting aimed at addressing their differences and challenges dogging the broader ruling alliance movement.
SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila wasted no time reminding the labour federation in no uncertain terms that the communists had made them. He called for a ceasefire between the warring youth leagues of the ANC and SACP, saying they should not be “factional instruments” of their mother bodies.
The communists also did not take kindly to a Cosatu statement on Monday that it suspected those calling for the SACP to contest state power in 2019 “merely refer to being elected to legislatures or at best into political office”.
The call was reiterated by the Young Communist League of SA (YCLSA) on Sunday but Cosatu had said the call was made each time relations were bad or dysfunctional between the alliance movement partners.
On Wednesday, Mapaila hit back, saying: “This notion that we participate in state power because of positions, from whatever angle it emanates, it’s wrong… It will be unfortunate to think that the communist party should not think about the role of that state power, particularly in favour of the working class.”
He then lectured the unionists that there would have been no Cosatu if it were not for the communists. “There’s no organisation in this country that has built the trade union movement, wholeheartedly, than the communist party. No one. No single organisation. Not even the ANC comes close.”
Despite the tension, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini insisted: “There is no fight between the (communist) party and Cosatu, as we speak right now.”
Mapaila said while they had fought “gallant battles” with Cosatu, their relationship was nothing more than that of “friendship, struggle, and working class power”.
He said the youth league structures of the ANC and SACP should stop hostilities and work together in organisng and leading young people.
“They have no business to be fighting one another, they have no business to be factional instruments of their mother organisations. At the same time, ourselves have no mandate, as leadership of these organisations, to use them as factional speakers. They have all the business to fight for principles of our movement and to safeguard the principles and the values of our movement.”
He called on the youth structures to fight against corruption and anyone who “violates our constitution”. President Jacob Zuma was found by the Constitutional Court to have violated the Constitution when he failed to comply with Public Protector’s remedial actions over the controversial security upgrades at his sprawling Nkandla home in KwaZulu-Natal.