Cosatu wants ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa to grow a backbone and “swing a big axe” against corruption – or risk losing the support of the working class who have run out of patience with the governing party.
The federation did not mince its words in a statement on Wednesday, saying Ramaphosa’s recent open letter was not enough to turn the tide against corruption and ill-discipline. He needed to act, the trade union federation said.
Cosatu also wants a reversal of the decision to promote former eThekwini mayor and corruption accused Zandile Gumede to the provincial legislature, as well as the suspension of VBS Bank-implicated Danny Msiza and Florence Radzilani to be reinstated.
“We have noted efforts from President Ramaphosa to push back against corruption, but we can only judge the results and not the intentions. Aggressive prosecution is the only dependable vaccine to cure the virus of corruption – not speeches, letters or public proclamations,” the statement reads.
“President Ramaphosa will not win the fight against corruption if he continues to be confrontation-averse. He needs to start swinging a big axe if he wants workers to trust and believe in him.
“Half the purpose of the criminal justice system is deterrence, so law enforcement agencies need to target corrupt CEOs, senior managers and politicians and send them to prison.”
The member of the tripartite alliance have also reminded Ramaphosa that it threw its weight behind him when he waged his bid to succeed former president Jacob Zuma as president of the ANC and the country. At the time the organisation pledged its support to Ramaphosa – with the caveat that it would not do so with a blank cheque as it had in the past, which had the effect of reducing the organisation to voting cattle.
“President Ramaphosa needs to know that workers remember his ‘brave new frontier’ talk during his campaign for the presidency and those are the standards by which he is measured,” it said.
“Workers feel that the president who campaigned in poetry is governing in prose and they are not impressed. The president must stop negotiating with criminals and use the only language they will understand, which is prosecution and imprisonment.”
Cosatu referred to corruption allegations as a “cancer” that continued to weaken the alliance, which had nearly collapsed during the Zuma era.
“Workers are fast losing confidence in the willingness and capacity of the ANC to honestly fight corruption. They are starting to view the organisation’s public statements as nothing but phoney outrage for political propaganda purposes.
“It does not help for the ANC to issue statements of condemnation regarding the state of corruption in the country while reinstating people implicated in the VBS looting scandal and also promoting a former mayor facing corruption allegations to a higher position.
“We call on the ANC NEC to reverse these inward-looking and politically reckless decisions.”