South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is in talks with rivals of its labor ally, the Congress of South African Trade Unions, to bolster support before next year’s election, the party’s Deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte said.
Included in those engagements are discussions with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, Duarte told reporters in Johannesburg today. AMCU has drawn members away from Cosatu’s National Union of Mineworkers to become the biggest labor group representing workers at the three largest platinum mines in the country.
“There’s no reason why we shouldn’t talk to AMCU,” Duarte said. “Members of AMCU are voters and some of them vote for the ANC.”
Rivalry between AMCU and NUM at Lonmin Plc’s Marikana mine in August last year led to the deaths of at least 44 people, including 34 killed when police opened fire on a crowd of striking workers.
Cosatu, the nation’s biggest labor federation, is in turmoil after leaders this month suspended General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, a vocal critic of the ruling party’s economic policies. The move was opposed by some of the federation’s members, including its largest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.
The ANC has won every election in South Africa since the first multiracial vote in 1994.