This title analyses the results of a survey of the political attitudes of members of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) undertaken in the run up to South Africas third democratic general election in 2004. The survey was the third in a series, two previous ones having been conducted by some of the authors writing in the present collection before the elections of 1994 and 1999. The results of all three surveys are presented in an appendix, and taken together constitute a unique data base whose interpretation makes a major contribution to our understanding of contemporary South African history, notably with regard to how and why COSATU has become a major political actor within the tripartite alliance which links it to the ruling African National Congress and the South African Communist Party.
Carefully analysing both the changes and (remarkable) continuities which characterise workers political orientations, the book highlights not only the complexity (and contradictions) of COSATUs stand on the ANCs politics and policies, but the quite extraordinary extent to which the federations leadership reflects the opinions and attitudes of its base.
Reflecting upon these attitudes with regard to such issues as the growing informalisation of work, internal union and parliamentary democracy, black empowerment and the marginalisation of women within the trade union movement, the collection concludes with considerations of COSATUs relation to working class politics and the democratic transformation of South Africa more generally.
Written by leading scholars of the South African labour movement, this book constitutes a major challenge to competing views which present COSATU as representing, on the one hand, a labour aristocracy within a context of massive unemployment, and on the other, the core of an emergent political party to the left of the ANC. It is a resource which no serious student of South African politics can do without.
Acronyms and abbreviations
1. Introduction: Cosatu and the first ten years of democratic transition in South Africa Sakhela Buhlungu
2. Trade unions and the challenge of the informalisation of work Edward Webster
3. Broadening internal democracy with a diverse workforce: challenges and opportunities Geoffrey Wood and Pauline Dibben
4. Union democracy, parliamentary democracy and the 2004 elections Janet Cherry and Roger Southall
5. The marginalisation of woman unionists during South Africas democratic transition Malehoko Tshoaedi and Hlengiwe Hlela
6. Cosatu and black economic empowerment Roger Southall and Roger Tangri
7. Workers and policy-making Janet Cherry
8. Cosatu, alliances and working-class politics Devan Pillay
9. Conclusion: Cosatu and the democratic transformation of South Africa Sakhela Buhlungu, Roger Southall and Edward Webster
Afterword Roger Southall, Edward Webster and Sakhela Buhlungu
Appendix Taking Democracy Seriously Survey Dataset 1994, 1998 and 2004