Former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has launched a scathing verbal attack on the South African Communist Party (SACP) leadership.
Addressing the Dispatch Dialogues at the Guild Theatre‚ East London‚ on Monday evening, the former COSATU bashed the communist party, saying the party died with its struggle hero Chris Hani.
The Dialogues were organized by Dispatch editor Sibusiso Ngalwa.
South African Communist Party (SACP) struggle icon Chris Hani was shot and killed outside his home in Dawn Park, Boksburg, on April 10, 1993, by Janusz Walus.
The investigation into the murder further revealed that Hani’s murder was politically motivated and that he was shot once in the body and three times in the head.
“Anyone who thinks we have a communist party in South Africa is living in dreamland. What went wrong with the SACP? Patronage is what went wrong with the SACP‚” Vavi said.
Vavi had earlier said on Monday that “Hani…and countless other martyrs of the communist struggle should be turning in their graves to note that the SACP played such a divisive role leading to the implosion of the only weapon in the hands of workers in the workplace”.
Speaking about COSATU, Vavi considered the years between 2012 and 2016 as the most tragic in the history of the body.
He recalled that after the Marikana massacre which occurred in 2012, the unity that exists in COSATU crashed like a pack of cards.
“The tragedy happened when Cosatu was preparing for their 30th anniversary. The wheels fell off within the trade union in 2010.”
“The leadership of unions does not know what it’s like to wait eight hours in a hospital queue. They have medical aids,” Vavi said.
He also paid tribute to South African revolutionary workers’ movement Comrade Mbuyiselo Ngwenda. Ngwenda was the former NUMSA General Secretary, who died on 10th March 1999 at the age of just 35.
Vavi noted that his untimely demise left the trade union movement poorer. He described Mbuyi as “a worker, but also a workers’ leader, shop steward, political activist, a fighter for social justice, a true revolutionary, educator, political commissar and agitator for fundamental change”.
Moving on, Vavi argued that the popular maxim that ‘it is cold outside the ANC is typically wrong and out of proportion. He postulated that outside the ruling party resides a very warm atmosphere.
“It was‚ in fact‚ cold within the ANC.”
“Outside the ANC‚ it’s very warm because I can speak so freely‚” he said.
ANC members have always maintained that it is ‘cold’ outside the ruling party. But opposition parties seem not to subscribe to their maxim.
Earlier this week, Vavi wrote to Cosatu asking it to join his new federation. The trade unionist and metal workers union NUMSA are due to launch a new federation this year after Cosatu expelled them.
Vavi emphasized that South African trade union landscape needs to change and that the 184 registered unions should be compressed along class lines.