The Congress of South African Trade Unions COSATU has taken a firm stand that the federation will not be drawing up a list of its own people to be given to the ANC as part of the election nomination list.
This decision was taken at the COSATU Central Executive Committee meeting held in November 1997. The article on the front page of The Star that says "ANC won't reserve seats for alliance partners" comes as no shock to COSATU.
It is a vindication of our policy that if people want to go to parliament and be MP's and Ministers under the banner of the ANC then they should work hard for it. They should join the ANC, participate in its branch structures, maybe they will find a way to the top.
As to the question of carrying two hats, that will be very difficult to control. This issue has been discussed before. COSATU's position is that when our national leader are elected to serve in an ANC or SACP executive, the federation's constitutional structures will meet and debate the issue and decide whether the election of that comrade compromises our policies.
It is a fact that most of the people who are members of the ANC happen to be members of the SACP and COSATU. You can't divorce the three. But it is also a fact that not all COSATU members are members of the ANC, which therefore make it imperative for COSATU to continue to make a call to its members to join and vote for the ANC.
COSATU disagrees with the sentiments of Mr. Mokaba as outlined in the article that by the ANC having a list drawn from its branches the implication is that, "the SACP and COSATU will be bound to follow the ANC policies". COSATU believes that Mr. Mokaba has been misquoted, as he knows very well that the Alliance partners are guided by the policies of their individual organisations. The ANC policies could never be imposed on COSATU. COSATU is guided by the principles outlined in its constitution.
COSATU has not heard of any case whereby members of parliament who are coming from its ranks have voted against an ANC position in parliament. COSATU is very clear that its former members who went to parliament under the ANC umbrella have a responsibility to advance the policies of the organisation (ANC). However, they should not forget where they come from.
Nowetu Mpati COSATU Head of Communications