01 February 2024
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes our ally, the African National Congress (ANC)’s sober decision to suspend Jacob Zuma. Given the endless litany of allegations and failures that have surrounded Jacob Zuma and in particular during his period as President of the ANC and the Republic, this is a long overdue step forward.
Workers and COSATU have long moved on from Zuma’s toxic legacy and were amongst the first to demand his immediate resignation when he was still President of the Republic and the ANC in the beginning of 2017 as the nation could no longer afford to indulge his chronic mismanagement, unhealthy relationship with the Constitution, insatiable lifestyle issues and shameful inability to place the nation’s interests ahead of the personal or familial.
We appreciate that we are now in the midst of the electoral cycle where every Tom, Dick and Harry looks at the mirror and imagines they are the President the country needs. Its unfortunate and in poor taste that someone who was entrusted by the ANC, workers and the public to lead, and who spectacularly failed to do so, now wants to portray himself as some sort of born again revolutionary.
It would be more appropriate for someone who had been granted the privilege to lead for nearly a decade, to grant his successor, the President Cyril Ramaphosa, the space and support to do so. This was the very courtesy afforded to Zuma by his predecessors, formers Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.
A leader with a sense of humility and self-introspection and perhaps sobriety, would appreciate that President Ramaphosa inherited from his predecessor, a state ravaged by the devastating effects of state capture and corruption and is having to work day and night to restore public services to where they once were. Someone in tune with the challenges workers face on a daily basis would have felt a sense of shame when reflecting on the very real pain that legacies of state capture and corruption have inflicted across the nation and that this person was found by the Zondo Commission to have been at the centre of a grotesque conspiracy to hand over the nation and its wealth to a disreputable family now residing in luxury in Dubai at the expense of South African taxpayers.
Whilst Zuma’s infantile antics are at best entertaining and bizarre, the ANC should not worry about the confused meanderings of a bored pensioner. The ANC should simply focus on stimulating the economy and slashing unemployment, rebuilding the state and public services, and accelerating the fight against crime and corruption. It should not waste airtime responding to a political party which has no leaders or structures, no policies or manifesto, which has not even been launched and whose claim to its name will struggle to withstand a legal copyright challenge.
COSATU and workers across South Africa will cheer the ANC on as it sheds disreputable elements and intensifies its renewal. Offending financial delinquents by its efforts to cleanse itself is a clear sign that the ANC is turning the corner and society will be better for it. This is a journey that the ANC must accelerate and not waiver from.
Issued by COSATU
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