Zwelinzima Vavi, secretary general of the South African Federation of Trade Unions – and erstwhile secretary general of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) – has accused the African National Congress (ANC) of having been captured by ‘white monopoly capital’ prior to 1994.

Vavi said in a recent interview: ‘In our view, the ANC, the movement, got captured ahead of 1994 and that’s the capture that nobody wants to talk about. Capture meant abandoning the Freedom Charter and abandoning the economic demands, in particular that which says the country’s wealth shall be shared by all who work it and that the mineral wealth shall be owned by everybody. This also meant the abandonment of the demand that says the land shall be distributed to all those who work it. Once the capitalists achieved that, they grew more confident, and that’s why they lobbied strongly that the first (in the democratic era) minister of finance must be Derek Keys.’

He added that ‘capitalists’ demanded privatisation. He said that the position of the Left was complicated by the failures of the state. The debacle at institutions such as Eskom and South African Airways made it ‘hard’ to argue for the nationalisation of the mines.

Vavi said that the ANC failed to implement its policies, and that it was prone to repeating the same debates ‘over and over’. The only thing that it had been able to do expeditiously was to scrap the Scorpions, an anti-corruption agency that incurred the ire of many in the ANC during the latter part of former president Thabo Mbeki’s tenure.

Disbanding the Scorpions was widely seen as a move to protect some of those accused of corruption. Vavi and Cosatu supported the decision to do so.

On Eskom, Vavi said that the board should resign and Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan should be fired.

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