Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Great Zuma Backtrack
It's humourous (and at the same time heartening) to see Cosatu's recent distancing from Zuma. Stating that "that they have never backed Zuma as their preferred succession candidate" is a tough proposition given the dishing out of thousands of "Zuma for President" t-shirts to supporters and the type of rhetoric given at mass rallies in support of Zuma.

However, what it does illustrate is Mbeki's leadership strength and Cosatu's need to remain inside the tri-partite alliance. Mbeki and his allies have undoubtedly beaten back their foes at the recent central committee meeting to solve the internal politics within the tri-partite alliance and have brought the party back in line and on message. I've said it many times before, and I will say it again, Mbeki has shown what a political master he is in dealing with the Zuma challenge in the past year. He has successfully ridden the waves of populism served up by Zuma, Cosatu and the SACP and has managed to rein these parties back into the alliance fold.

There was much talk about Cosatu splitting from the tri-partite alliance, but that window has now closed. Cosatu have realised that the world outside of the alliance is one in which they would largely struggle to find relevance for the entire voter spectrum,and that they are much better served inside its governmental walls.