alliance BEHIND zuma ALL THE WAY

Ido lekota

Ido lekota

Jacob Zuma's campaign to become South Africa's next president has received a major boost following public support from his party and its alliance partners, the Congress of South African Trade Unions and South African Communist Party.

In a statement from the three-day alliance summit the three parties said they would not only support Zuma during his corruption trial "but to the Union Buildings as the next president of South Africa".

The summit at Gallagher Estate at the weekend was aimed at ironing out relations between ANC-Cosatu and the SACP after the ANC national conference in Polokwane last December

Zuma's corruption trial starts in August.

"We will not only accompany him to court but to the Union Buildings as the next president of South Africa," ANC general secretary Gwede Mantashe told journalists in Johannesburg yesterday.

As president of the ANC Zuma is supposed to lead the ANC election campaign next year. He is also the party's candidate for the country's presidency.

Zuma, among others, is charged with soliciting a R500000 yearly bribe from a French arms manufacturing company.

His supporters insist that the charges are part of a political ploy to undermine his chances of becoming the country's next president. They want the charges withdrawn.

In a statement yesterday the alliance partners also expressed their deep concern at the devastating impact of rising food prices on ordinary South Africans.

As a way of addressing the crisis, the summit delegates suggested, among other things, the removal of VAT on a wider range of basic foodstuffs; revamping and increasing financial allocations to school feeding schemes and subsidies to cushion the effect of price rises on the poor.

Urgent action required in this regard includes strengthening legislation to criminalise collusive behaviour, including price fixing in the food sector.

The summit also agreed "that land and agrarian reform programmes must be radically speeded up, so as to make land available for food production.

"The sale of publicly owned land for speculative and nondevelopmental use should stop," said the partners.

As part of the campaign to tackle rising food prices the alliance supports the Cosatuled civil society action planned for May 17.