Thoughts on South African and international politics and culture

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Vavi playing a dangerous game
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is treading on very thin ice. Cosatu has put all of their eggs in one basket in terms of their backing of Jacob Zuma. Vavi hit the headlines over the weekend by stating that the tripartite alliance would "not survive" a Mbeki third term as ANC party president.

This is patently untrue, and largely overstates the power of Cosatu within the tripartite alliance. As we've said before, Cosatu and the SACP need the ANC more than the reverse, as most Cosatu and SACP members would vote ANC regardless of whether there was an alliance or not (Markinor Research 2006).

The problem for Vavi is that there is an increasing call from the regional ANC branches for a 'third way' candidate. With Tokyo's chances seemingly fading as he is yet to get an official branch endorsement, Cyril Ramaphosa's star may be on the rise. So far, he's made all the right moves, and he has the correct stature within the ANC NEC and credibility with the Left to make a serious bid for the party presidency. As we've seen, a lot can happen in six weeks though.