Vavi laughs off ‘Kaizer Chiefs’ hand signals

2012-09-20 16:09

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has laughed off “second term” finger signs made by delegates at Cosatu’s four-day congress, which has drawn to a close in Midrand.

Vavi told journalists after the close of the congress this afternoon that no action would be taken against delegates who made hand signs showing two fingers, in favour of a second term for President Jacob Zuma, or soccer substitution signs, against him.

“That would be divisive,” he said.

He joked that delegates showed these signs this morning because Kaizer Chiefs had won a match. The two-finger signal is also used by fans of this soccer team.

A ban on debating ANC succession battles at Cosatu’s congress meant that delegates battled it out in song and signals. One song said: “Sihamba noZuma, sihamba noPresident” (we are going with Zuma), while another one said Zuma must get rid of Malema because he is in the way.

Most delegates who showed hand signs showed the second term sign, but there were some, standing on tables, mockingly holding two hands above their heads denoting shower heads, as well as showing substitution signs.

Vavi said the matter of who Cosatu would be supporting at the ANC’s elective congress in Mangaung would be discussed by Cosatu’s central executive committee’s special meeting in the first week of October.

He said union leaders would come with mandates and negotiate from that position.

Earlier, teachers union Sadtu, nurses union Denosa and metalworkers union Numsa argued the debate on Mangaung should happen at the congress.

But they were overruled.

In his closing address Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini called on unions to unite behind Cosatu.

“There shall be no union that is above Cosatu and there shall be no individual who is above Cosatu,” he said.

He said all those who had left Cosatu should be encouraged to “come home”.

He also said the newly re-elected Cosatu leadership would work for unity in the alliance. “There is no time for petty squabbles, our people are crying out for leadership,” he said.

Cosatu in its declaration said it would not tolerate unemployment and reiterated its call for the banning of labour brokers.

It also called for the “Lula moment” to start immediately. This refers to Brazil’s president Lula da Silva who managed to effect socio-economic transformation in his country.

It is also very similar to the ANC’s call for a “second phase of the first transition”.

Vavi told journalists once Cosatu’s leaders had recovered from the congress and “re-energized”, they would start working on a clear programme to effect this.

Another urgent to-do item on Cosatu’s list is the holding of a central bargaining conference at the end of October to talk about setting a minimum wage and improving the pay of workers countrywide.

It also made a special declaration on the Marikana tragedy, calling for another commission of inquiry to look into the social conditions around the mines, as well as the history of the industry.

» Read City Press on Sunday for more on the Cosatu congress. 

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