Get your house in order, ANC tells Cosatu

2014-10-22 15:40

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The ANC has urged Cosatu to address hostility in the trade union federation, amidst rumours of an imminent split.

“The task of leadership is to address breaches quickly and effectively whilst addressing the underlying issues as speedily as possible,” the ANC said in a report handed to Cosatu’s special central executive committee (CEC).

The ANC task team, led by its deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, presented its interim report to the CEC meeting in Johannesburg yesterday.

The report gives a summary of what Cosatu affiliates identified as problems in the union federation.

The ANC task team was formed in April to help solve problems within the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

The task team met Cosatu national office bearers as well as its individual affiliates at 26 meetings.

According to the report, affiliates were unanimous in their view that there was “paralysis” in Cosatu. They were convinced it emanated from the inability of its national office bearers to provide leadership, because of divisions.

“The affiliates all acknowledge the existence of two groupings or factions; loosely grouped around the president [Sidumo Dlamini] and the general secretary [Zwelinzima Vavi],” said the ANC.

A number of solutions were recommended by affiliates. These included fresh elections of national office bearers, the departure of either Dlamini or Vavi, or the departure of all six Cosatu leaders.

The ANC task team warned Cosatu national office bearers to stop supporting certain affiliates and focus on leading the union federation.

There had been divisions in Cosatu since Vavi was suspended last year for having what he called an affair with a junior employee who accused him of rape but did not report it to police.

Following a court battle, instituted by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), Vavi’s suspension was overturned by the High Court in Johannesburg earlier this year, and he returned to work.

Numsa and Vavi’s future in Cosatu have come into question, with rumours that both could be suspended.

Numsa has strayed from the Cosatu mandate by pronouncing in December that it would not support the ANC in the general elections.

In its report to the CEC, the ANC, stopping short of naming Numsa, urged affiliates not to make public utterances which hampered Cosatu’s unity.

“The public comments and conduct of some affiliates have caused deep unhappiness in the federation and a question of their long-term commitment to the unity of the federation,” it said.

Numsa and eight other unions had been calling on Cosatu to hold a special national congress, at which they wanted Dlamini replaced.

The ANC said it did not think divisions in Cosatu would be solved by electing new leadership. The party questioned whether it was in the best interests of the trade union federation to do so with a normal congress less than 12 months away.

The ANC indicated it would continue to mediate in what was meant to be a short intervention in Cosatu.

The ruling party said it intended to remain “engaged in further processes”.

“We are not walking away from Cosatu.”

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