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Capital Guardians Want To Destroy Alliance, Say’s Mbeki

Yesterday afternoon, President Thabo Mbeki was loudly applauded by some 2700 congress attendee’s of COSATU when he accused the privileged of apartheid and the “guardians of capital” of trying to destroy the alliance between the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP.

With the opening of Cosatu’s four yearly congress in Midrand, Mbeki and Mr Willie Madisha showed the world that the alliance is healthy and strong despite organisational problems and even not a little desertion among Cosatu members who would like to break ties with the ANC.

In his speech Madisha demonstrated Cosatu’s independence from the ANC and government with biting criticism of the government, especially about the proposed changes to the labour laws. “The changes will give the minister of labour draconian power, so that he can even allow child labbour.” Madisha said. He asked congress delegates to put forward suitable mass-action proposals with which the changes can be fought.

Madisha also attacked the governments macro-economic policy, Gear and pointed out that not one of Gear’s set aim’s had been achieved since the government accepted the policy in June 1996.

Mbeki, who’s turn came shortly after Madisha, was loudly applauded before his speech, especially when he removed his jacket and revealed the red Cosatu T-shit he was wearing.

A few minutes before, three of his ministers, Mr Jeff Radebe of public affairs, Kader Asmal of national education and especially Membathisi Mdladlana of labour, were openly jeered when their names were read off the honorary guest list.

After Mbeki’s speech, several presents were presented to him and a blanket in the Cosatu colours was draped over his shoulders. He received a long ovation before he left the congress venue.

Mbeki spent almost half of his speech criticising his political opponents who are attempting to end the alliance.

Before 1994, they were the privileged of apartheid, today they portray themselves as guardians of democracy and human rights, he said.

The criticism that Cosatu expressed regarding the workings of the alliance, is however, justified.

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