Vavi plays election card

2013-04-18 12:39

It would be difficult to lobby workers for next year’s general elections when the ANC had not addressed pressing issues such as the calls for decent work and the ban on labour brokers.

This was according to Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of union federation Cosatu, during an address to National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) bargaining conference delegates in Pretoria.

Vavi said Cosatu leaders would look like “Popeyes” (cartoons or puppets) if they went back to their members.

“It is simply unfair for anyone, in particular our ally, the ANC, to ask us to cooperate with our own oppression and exploitation, which is what the NDP’s (National Development Plan’s) major proposals are.

“The (plan) represents a typical example of the chicken and pig partnership in which the chicken offers to lay eggs for breakfast but ask the pig to donate bacon.”

These are the issues that might break the camel’s back, he said.

Vavi also said attempts by some union leaders to “smear” him with corruption will fail.

This comes amid media reports that a probe into allegations against Vavi was due to start this week, but Cosatu has denied that its general secretary is facing a probe.

Vavi enjoys support within Numsa, which welcomed him to its conference by singing a song asking Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini what it is that Vavi did wrong.

Numsa president Cedric Gina has asked the conference to discuss food workers union Fawu’s call for a special congress of Cosatu to bring an end to the disunity rocking it.

Vavi told the conference that his enemies were out to destroy the federation.

“The newspapers’ ‘sources’, who we now can say without any fear of a contradiction are a few senior leaders of our affiliated unions at the level of the presidents and general secretaries, are the new enemies of the working class.

“They have been given a mandate to destroy Cosatu or at best create so much division that the federation can no longer be an independent movement capable of fighting for the interests of members,” he said.

He added that the federation faced the choice of exposing and weakening these leaders, whom he likened to people who hugs him with knives, or they would divide and weaken Cosatu.

“Divisions among the forces of change have moved focus away from driving real change – to defeat unemployment, poverty and inequalities and build a better life – into internal, unending strife that has left us incoherent and enjoying less and less confidence from the people we want to lead,” he said.

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