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Tripartite Alliance: Leaders go head to head

Tripartite Alliance leaders went head to head over the future of its existence at Denosa’s Special Congress.

FILE. Leaders of the Tripartite Alliance went head to head over the future of its existence at Denosa’s Special Congress on Thursday 30 October 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The leaders of South Africa's Tripartite Alliance have gone head to head about the future of its existence, with the African National Congress (ANC) saying it continues to benefit the working class, while the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has warned that South Africa's future is more important.

ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe, the South African Communist Party (SACP)'s Blade Nzimande and Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi all addressed the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa)'s National Congress on Thursday, where the leaders expressed concern that worker issues have been overshadowed by factional battles in the federation.

While Mantashe called for Denosa to use its influence to unite factions in Cosatu, Vavi warned that the alliance risks becoming irrelevant.

Mantashe says the ANC has always been available to assist Cosatu and its unions, but does not want to control it.

"If we wanted it, we'd put a few comrades in the ANC, form a labour desk, listen to those comrades and make onus irrelevant."

Vavi says young workers have no historical attachment to the alliance and facing up to South Africa's reality is more important than saving it.

"As much as we love Cosatu, as much as we love the ANC and the SACP and our allies, they are not more important as our future as the country, full stop."

Nzimande also denied that the SACP is behind the division in Cosatu.

"We want not only a united Cosatu, we want a militant Cosatu."

Though all three alliance leaders spoke at the same gathering, none of them heard each other's speeches, as they had to rush out of the congress to other engagements.