ANC alliance partners call out hostility between government and workers   

The state of the economy and hostile relations between government and workers featured prominently during the ANC policy conference held in Nasrec on Friday.

Both the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) held back no punches, saying the government’s economic policies were driving the working class further into the shackles of poverty.

The key allies of the ruling party said the policy conference, which ends on Sunday, should deliberate on drastic structural changes to the economy which will rescue the poor.

“This policy conference must look at the state of our economy. The framework we have pursued is not suitable for our country. We need radical change to that framework which will respond to fiscal policy. As it stands it pushes the interest of big capital which has no mandate and responsibility to the wellbeing of society,” said SACP general secretary Solly Mapaila.

He also took a swipe at the privatisation agenda, saying it would reduce the state capacity.

Cosatu President Zingiswa Losi also echoed the same sentiments lamenting that the government had adopted a hardline stance against the workers.

“We want a pro-working-class ANC that does not waiver to defend workers’ rights. This includes the ANC that pays workers salaries in full and in time,” said Losi.

The policy conference offers an opportunity for the party to renew its policies. It is held at least six months before the national elective conference. The gathering also conducts a strategic review of the ANC policies for consideration by the national conference. The ruling party released the discussion documents earlier in May for inputs by various structures including alliance partners and civic organisations.

Key deliberations expected to set the tone for the conference include expropriation of land without compensation, formation of state bank, the contentious step aside resolution and the nationalisation of the Reserve Bank.

The conference will also give a clearer picture in terms of the balance of forces within the ruling party ahead of its much-anticipated elective conference in December.

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