Vavi: I don’t struggle for position

2012-09-17 07:16

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has readily declared that he is up for re-election at the labour federation’s four-day congress, which starts at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand today.

But he has vehemently denied that he seeks any higher position like that of president of the ANC and of the country.

Speaking to Dali Tambo on his SABC3 show People of the South, last night, Vavi said: “I don’t struggle for position.”

Instead, he said he fought for the rights of workers and the principles he believed in.

Following stories that affiliates like the mighty National Union of Mineworkers did not nominate him for re-election at this congress because they did not like his outspokenness and his confrontational style towards the ANC, Vavi said he didn’t care if people didn’t like him.

“The day you wake up with everybody loving you, then you know you have lost your character,” he said.

“If you stand for something, you will lose friends, you will make friends. That is the reality of life.”

He added that the majority of South Africans appreciated the work he was doing.

He said his biggest fear was to see “the movement which I defenced since childhood may collapse in our hands if we are not careful. I fear that it might happen. I don’t want it to happen.”

With the recent loss of 45 lives during a wildcat strike at the Lonmin mine at Marikana – 34 of them at the hands of police – Vavi faces one of the biggest challenges of his career.

The congress is set to be dominated by the strikes – led by Cosatu breakaway union Amcu – and the lives lost there.

As Cosatu proceedings kick off in Midrand this morning, 15 minutes will be devoted to “remembering the workers of Marikana”.

The labour federation is set to announce its own plan around addressing the issues that led to the violence, which is now being suppressed by force after government sent in police and troops on Saturday.

Also on this morning’s programme are speeches by Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande and a keynote address by President Jacob Zuma in his capacity as ANC head.

Vavi is set to deliver his political report after lunch time, and this will be followed by a debate.

All the congress sessions will be open to the media to attend and report on.

The congress will be attended by all Cosatu’s affiliated unions, and will end on Thursday.

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