There is probably no one alive today with the intimate knowledge of all the organisations of the alliance that Gwede Mantashe possesses. He’s been Chair of the SACP, Secretary General of the ANC, and general secretary of Cosatu’s now biggest affiliate once more, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He is the central point in the alliance, in a fashion. So when he says that the expulsion of Numsa is “bad for Cosatu, bad for the alliance, bad for the ANC, for progressive forces, and society in general”, you know it’s, well, bad.