Short of an angry and vindictive divorce you don’t really get a more serious breakdown between previous partners than described by the amazingly revealing Cosatu’s press statement yesterday threatening the end of the ruling alliance because ANC has laid disciplinary charges against Cosatu secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi.

This is what the statement reveals:

  1. The powerful National Working Committee (here‘s a list of members of that august body) of the African National Congress has decided to lay disciplinary charges against Vavi;
  2. Cosatu suspects (or knows) that the charges relate to a Cosatu statement, delivered by Vavi, in which the trade union federation criticises, amongst other things the fact that “newspapers continue to carry stories of allegations of corruption against Ministers and we are still to hear the President or Cabinet announcing that these allegations will be subjected to investigation ….” and further:  “Perceptions … runs deep in our communities, that government is soft on corruption, in particular if it is committed by members of the cabinet and/or senior party leaders or officials.”
  3. The original Cosatu statement is a devastating critique of the Jacob Zuma led ANC and it was just a matter of time before those who believed they were the “members of the cabinet and/or senior party leaders or officials” singled out hit back;
  4. The Cosatu statement (catch it here) accuses these “cabinet and/or senior party leaders or officials” of sneaking the attack on Vavi into the NWC meeting by waiting until those who would have stopped left.
  5. The statement strongly implies that Zwelinzima Vavi is entering the leadership race for 2012 and that this somehow must be read together with the ANCYL push to get rid of Gwede Mantashe and promote Fikile Mbalula.

Business Day has a quote from Malesela Maleka of the SACP that perfectly summarised what is actually going on:

There is a small grouping in the ANC that is in a hurry to gain power, and alliance leaders stand in the way of their get-rich-quick scheme.

It cannot be such a small group if only “alliance leaders” are standing in the way, but this is succinctly put and reeks of the ugly truth.