The tripartite alliance on the eve of a new millennium: The Congress of South African Trade Unions, the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party

Eidelberg, P.G.
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This paper argues that the transition from Nationalist Party to African National Congress [ANC] rule, culminating in the elections of April 1994, has involved a realignment in the balance of power between the members of the Tripartite Alliance, comprising the ANC, the Congress of South African Trade Unions [COSATU] and the South African Communist Party [SACP]. The ANC's gradual return to legal activity, pari passu with the steady erosion of Nationalist Party rule, during the decade prior to 1994, has led to the consolidation of ANC hegemony, reaching a climax since approximately 1992. It is suggested, however, that this has affected COSATU and the SACP each in a different manner. The paper is in two parts, with the dividing line roughly at the end of 1991. The first part begins in 1985, the year of COSATU's founding and the beginning of an evolving ideological divergence between the SACP and the ANC. It is argued that this divergence originated from the climate of unprecedented massive township and industrial unrest during 1984-1986 and from the resulting imposition of international sanctions. In the wake of these events, the SACP and the ANC began each to react in its own way. The SACP began to draw closer to COSATU, although not out of interest in a separate alliance, but rather primarily to canvass their membership. In the process, it began to espouse primarily a policy of urban insurrection, rather than that of guerrilla warfare, which both it and the ANC had hitherto endorsed... The second part begins with the eighth SACP congress, held in late 1991.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented 3 March, 1997
Labor unions, Black. Political activity. South Africa, South Africa. Politics and government. 1989-1994, South Africa. Politics and government. 1994-