lekota has a plan

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Former defence minister Mosiuoa Lekota and his associates have a five-point plan - which includes adopting the Freedom Charter and forming an alternative to Cosatu.

Lekota and former Gauteng premier Mbhazima Shilowa are leading the initiative to form a new party comprising disgruntled ANC members. The initiative has been dubbed Shikota - a combination of the two leaders' surnames.

The plan includes forming a broad party which will target disgruntled members of the ANC-SACP-Cosatu tripartite alliance, winning over smaller parties to merge with the new formation and forming coalitions with like-minded bigger political parties.

"I am aware that some of the smaller parties are seriously considering disbanding and joining the national convention. I am also aware that General Bantu Holomisa is on record as saying that although he is not considering joining the formation he is nevertheless positioning himself to working with such a formation," Lekota said.

"That seems to suggest that this will be a big formation that could either singly or through a coalition have an influence on the outcome of the election, including even running the government for that matter," he said.

The former ANC chairman also dismissed suggestions that the new party would find it difficult to make inroads into Cosatu, which remains a strong support base during elections.

Lekota said there were many Cosatu members who voted for other parties besides the ANC "because they see a trade union as an organisation dealing with their bread-and-butter issues and not necessarily a political home.

"There are many workers in Cosatu who are unhappy with the tripartite alliance. You must not be misled into believing that workers will mechanically go and vote for the ANC simply because they are members of Cosatu."

The Shikota plan involves the formation of an alternative labour federation comprising disaffected Cosatu members and independent unions. The new federation is to be led by former Cosatu president Willie Madisha.

"We have workers from the mines, Sadtu, Nehawu, Saccawu, as well as civil servants, who are willing to join the new labour federation," former Free State SACP provincial executive committee member Mzwandile Hleko said.

Lekota's announcement that the Freedom Charter belongs to all who adopt it is set to cause further tensions with his former comrades who insist that it belongs to the ANC.

"The Freedom Charter was adopted by the Congress of the People in 1955 as a guiding document for the attainment of democracy in this country. The ANC, just like the South African Indian Congress and the Congress of Democrats, adopted it as a guiding document.

"We are going to adopt it because we believe in its principles on which the Constitution of this country is based."

He and his associates have accused the new ANC leadership of veering away from the Freedom Charter.