Picture: Phill Magakoe/African News Agency (ANA)

Durban - As the ANC prepares to celebrate its 107th birthday on January 8 and launch its election manifesto on January 12, its tripartite alliance partner in KwaZulu-Natal, Cosatu, expects the events to unite the movement and erase factions and divisions that have rocked the province.

Edwin Mkhize, Cosatu KZN provincial secretary, said that they were thankful that KZN has been trusted with hosting the big national event.

“This shows that there is confidence in us and that we have the capacity host an event of this magnitude.

“We expect that the programmes will unite us in particular as the tripartite alliance. We would like to move on from the problems of divisions and factions in KZN,” Mkhize said.

He said Cosatu anticipated that the ANC’s manifesto launch would tackle issues such as unemployment.

“We are facing a crisis. Many people are without jobs. We need to know how this will be addressed. We also expect to hear how the ANC will improve the conditions of workers to make their lives better.”

Mkhize said they also expected the manifesto to lay out the ANC’s plans to avert the privatisation of state-owned enterprises and the outsourcing of government work to private companies.

“We want the ANC’s manifesto to reassure us that the issue of returning the land to the people does not end up just being a dream because we are clear, as Cosatu, that there should be an amendment of the constitution if we want to realise this objective and commitment to return the land to the people.

“We also expect clarity on several issues, including the issue of our stagnant economy and what the ANC will do to boost growth in the country,” he said.

KZN is known to be former president Jacob Zuma’s stronghold. While it is unclear if tensions will rise ahead of President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the keynote for the party’s celebrations, Zuma supporters said they were angry that the ANC’s top brass had taken a decision to delay Moses Mabhida region holding its conference before elections - an indication that the national executive committee might be in for a hostile reception in the coastal city.

During its rally, the party will also probably have to emphasise its commitment to protecting the rights of women after an embarrassing recording involving its national chaplain general, the Rev Vukile Mehana, who was slated for making derogatory remarks about women in a private conversation with fellow Methodist Church member Raymond Sibanga.

The recording went viral and Sibanga apologised for sharing it with third parties, while Mehana has been dropped from officiating at the celebration.

Meanwhile, up to 1300 buses are to be used to transport people from across the country, while trains will also be on standby to ferry people from various parts of the province

Acting national spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said the ANC’s manifesto involved the tradition of an extensive consultation process with the public and various stakeholders.

“Our leadership has engaged South Africans from all walks of life and we will unveil a manifesto that builds on the progress of the last 24 years and speaks to the dreams, hopes and aspirations of every South African,” said Kodwa.

Political analyst Thabani Khumalo said the developments were of great significance to the ANC especially as they would be held in KZN which could be the king-maker for this year’s general elections.

“It’s an opportunity for the ANC to position itself before the elections. At its 54th national conference, the ANC’s leadership was given the task of unifying and renewing the party. This will be an opportunity to report back on what progress it has made in bringing about unity.

“It is important that the ANC is seen to be united because that places it in a better position to regain the confidence it seems to have lost on the ground,” said Khumalo.

Political Bureau