Friends or enemies?

EVEN for supporters of the new government's lurch to the left there is something unsettling about the ANC alliance partners' swagger through the halls of power as they demand their pound of flesh.

EVEN for supporters of the new government's lurch to the left there is something unsettling about the ANC alliance partners' swagger through the halls of power as they demand their pound of flesh.

Cosatu, the SACP and the ruling party's youth league believe they are the kingmakers who displaced Thabo Mbeki and put Jacob Zuma in power.

Now they seek their reward.

Day after day their spokespersons pontificate freely on matters we expect would be the purview of the ruling party and its government.

Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi announced yesterday that the union federation wants more power for departments run by trusted ministers from its ranks. Before that the youth league, Cosatu and the SACP had asserted whole lists of demands that they consider their due.

Zuma, ever the conciliator, is unlikely to put down his shock troops in public. That role has fallen to the likes of ANC general secretary GwedeMantashe and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.

But the country faces grave peril unless someone, anyone, can draw these rowdy rebels aside and impress on them that their raucous demands defeat even their own interests.

In this highly competitive world we inhabit, competitors will exploit any sign of weakness they discern. And a government that is not in complete control of its own choices is a weak government.

So for our sake and theirs, Msholozi, please whisper in your allies' ears and advise them to pipe down.

X