Cosatu infighting worrying ANC – Zweli Mkhize

2013-11-26 18:06

The ANC is worried by the turmoil within union federation Cosatu and wants to help resolve it in the interests of the tripartite alliance and the country, the party’s treasurer general, Zweli Mkhize, has said.

But he said the ANC could at most play a supporting role and seek to ensure that Cosatu resolved its woes in an orderly manner.

“The ANC is not comfortable, because it is a part of the alliance and the bulk of the people ... play roles inside the ANC, and therefore it is always a matter of concern that where there are issues that are not resolved we should be able to get involved and discuss and try and get consensus and get over the difficulty,” Mkhize told the Cape Town Press Club.

“It will not help the country, it will not help the unions, it will not help the ANC, it will not help the alliance, if you have a big fight,” he said.

Mhkize said it was one thing to deal with a bitter labour dispute by bringing union leaders to the negotiating table, but it was more worrying to deal with internal strife in the labour movement.

“It is another to deal with disparate groups of people who are fighting, and therefore we are hoping to engage them and we want to deal with and resolve issues that have got to do with moving the economy forward and creating social cohesion and so on.

“So we really hope that these matters will be resolved within the capacity of the unions, and all the ANC can do is to play a supportive role to make sure that these processes are done without causing any disharmony.”

He said the complaints that led to the suspension of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi – President Jacob Zuma’s most vocal critic inside the alliance – were internal matters of a “personal and administrative” nature that the federation had to resolve by following its own rule book.

But Mkhize indirectly took issue with Vavi’s key ally in the internal battle within Cosatu, metal workers’ union secretary-general Irvin Jim, by calling on all to rally behind the National Development Plan (NDP).

The plan is central to the threat by Numsa to break away from Cosatu and the ruling alliance.

Read: Leaving Cosatu is last resort – Irvin Jim

Jim is an outspoken opponent of the plan, which he has termed “neoliberal”, and he has warned the ANC that the union will not campaign for the ruling party if it uses the NDP as part of its manifesto for the next year’s elections.

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