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By Zukile Majova | Oct 15, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

IT WAS always inevitable that the power players in the ruling tripartite alliance would be at each other's throats fighting for the spoils of war once victory was attained.

IT WAS always inevitable that the power players in the ruling tripartite alliance would be at each other's throats fighting for the spoils of war once victory was attained.

Cosatu, more so than the ANC and the SACP, did most of the spade work in the battle to wrest control of the movement from former president Thabo Mbeki's vice grip on power.

Who can forgetZwelinzima Vavi's words that Jacob Zuma was like a tsunami.

The labour federation therefore most probably feels it has the most right to claim it rescued President Zuma from the lion's den and parachuted him to the highest office in the land.

It must also be remembered that within the current ANC leadership there are those who jumped onto the Polokwane bandwagon in the eleventh hour, when they saw the Mbeki beast starring defeat in the face.

They were opportunists who read signs and moved with the current.

The battle lines had been drawn years prior, probably as far back as the ANC's September 2002 policy conference at Esselen Park, where Mbeki told the delegates his organisation was "not a movement whose mission is to fight for the victory of socialism".

From then onwards, it was a slippery road, with Mbeki describing Cosatu and the SACP as the ultra-Left acting in cahoots with theDemocratic Alliance.

"The ultra-Left strives to abuse our internal democratic processes to advance its agenda against policies adopted by our most senior decision-making structures, including our national congresses," charged Mbeki.

Perhaps not along the same lines as Mbeki, but it is beginning to look like Zuma will have to draw a line in the sand and map out the rules of engagement in the tripartite alliance.

This week, the ANC started this process of reminding the Left-leaning organisations of who is boss in the political arrangement.

ANC general-secretary Gwede Mantashe and his Luthuli House delegation told the top leadership of Cosatu, the SACP and the SA National Civics Organisation (Sanco) to back off and give the ANC space to implement its electionmanifesto.

This after ANC national executive member Billy Masetlha accused both Cosatu and the SACP of trying to impose socialism on on the ANC.

Masetlha stated: "The ANC was not founded on a socialist agenda. Socialism has no space within the ANC. The cause for our struggle has always been about national liberation.

"The day the ANC sings to the socialist agenda, it would be signing its death warrant."

Following the meeting, the alliance partners released a joint statement obviously set to douse the fears raised by Masetlha and other senior ANC members who did not have the guts to make their concerns public.

"Conference confirms the relevance of the alliance, united in action for the joint programme of social transformation, using its collective strength to continue to search for better ways to respond to the new challenges. Conference further confirms that the leadership role of the ANC places on it the primary responsibility to unite the tripartite alliance and all the democratic forces," read the statement.

Human Sciences Research Council senior research specialist Mcebisi Ndletyana has probably hit the spot in saying that Masetlha's statements should not come as a surprise.

"The ANC is still made up of multi-class constituencies. People were misled into believing that those with market-oriented interests in the ANC had all left to Cope. "In fact, the ANC still has very strong business interests within itself, and people with strong business connections.

"The nationalist sentiment is also still very strong," says Ndletyana.

Ndletyana even predicts that the recent race for the ANC Eastern Cape provincial chairmanship where Eastern Cape finance MEC Mcebisi Jonas was "castigated as a reincarnation of the 1996 class project whereas SACP national treasurer Phumulo Masualle fought on a Leftist platform, will be replicated on a national level come 2012".

This tells us that Luthuli House might seem to be at peace post-Polokwane but actually resembles a "house of flying daggers".

As general-secretary, Mantashe is charged with the task of managing relations within the alliance. This, however, becomes murky considering Mantashe is a former unionist and current chairperson of the SACP.

He is, therefore, seen by some ANC members as part of the alleged plot by the SACP to take over the ANC. It is for this reason that there is now a faction within the ANC calling for former ANC Youth League leader Fikile Mbalula to replace Mantashe.

Given this background, the alliance summit planned for next month is expected to be a battleground with Zuma the only person likely to play mediator.

This is indeed a tall order for a man who has so far refrained from ruffling the feathers of those who have put him into power.


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