The spokesman for South Africa’s Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called on the ruling African National Congress (ANC) to implement policies to better working conditions.
About 4,000 delegates of the ANC have gathered in the central city of Bloemfontein to choose a new leadership for the next five years.
“What we hope above all is that the conference will focus on the political issues and challenges and not on the leadership election,” said COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven.
“The main issue for COSATU is exactly the same issues that have been discussed and some very encouraging resolutions passed. The problem is five years later, too many of the problems still remain,” he said.
Craven said the ANC will have to come up with solutions for the growing economic divide, high unemployment, and poverty.
“We need to start seeing changes on the ground,” said Craven.
The trade union, along with other labor organizations, is an ally of the governing ANC.
“We want COSATU to play a central role in the alliance in formulating policies and getting them off the ground and that is something that we feel strongly about,” continued Craven.
He also said the government needs to set up an anti-graft agency to help weed out corruption.
“We want to see more initiatives like the one COSATU took by setting up corruption watch, which would be much more actively involved in the fight against corruption. Giving people the opportunity to report with the complete lack of fear of retaliation, for reporting acts of corruption,” said Craven.
Some South Africans have accused the ANC of condoning corruption. President Jacob Zuma has not been spared accusations of graft and criticisms of the way he has handled the economy.
Supporters of Zuma have rejected the graft allegations against him.
Zuma has defended his first term in office by saying that after securing democracy, South Africa was ready to "focus on achieving meaningful socio-economic freedom."
Clottey interview with Patrick Craven, COSATU spokesman