Nzimande tells unions to back off

2012-07-16 00:00

INDICATIONS from the SA Community Party’s 13th conference are that President Jacob Zuma has strong allies.

But the jury is still out as to whether the Reds’ 150 000 strong membership will be enough to secure Zuma a second term as ANC president, and indeed the country.

In the 2007 Polokwane conference, the SACP used the influence of Cosatu to attain Zuma’s victory against the then president Thabo Mbeki. However, this conference has indicated that the relationship with Cosatu has soured, with leaders attacking each other in front of the media.

The divisions were clearly highlighted in the political report by SACP secretary-general, Blade Nzimande, who spelt it out in no uncertain terms that the unions have no business in the decisions taken by his party.

Nzimande was defending the decision by the party to allow him to retain his position in the party while also serving in the government.

“We have discussed this with the unions, the only remaining problem was Numsa,” he said.

Cosatu has been vocal about SACP members being deployed to government saying that it would cripple the party.

Cosatu Secretary General, Zwelinzima Vavi hit back saying that, “We agree that the decision[s] of the SACP are theirs and likewise the decisions of the union are ours.”

But he supported the call for unity saying the problems that have plagued the two alliance partners have been resolved, including Numsa. However, divisions were laid bare following an alleged attempted assassination of Numsa Secretary General, Irvin Jim on Thursday night.

Nzimande condemned the media reports saying that the incident was a genuine mistake by the bodyguards of eThekwini Mayor James Nxumalo, who followed the wrong car thinking that it was that of their principal.

“The media has blown this out of proportion and this was aimed at deviating from the work of the conference,” he said.

Nzimande said there was no attempt to assassinate anyone.

He told journalists at the press briefing that they should not use twitter as a source of information. “If you use twitter to get headlines God help us all,” he added.

The conference was marked by the singing of pro-Zuma songs.

And delegates also attacked Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula for choosing Beyoncé over multi-award winning artist Zahara for the coming annual sports awards event.

“Asimfuni uBeyonce, sifunu uZahara [We don’t want Beyoncé, we want Zahara].”

Then they sang “We don’t want Mbalula, we want [Gwede] Mantashe”.

For the Zuma supporters it is one down and two to go, with the Cosatu Conference coming up in September, where the SACP would also seek to influence the outcome of that congress, to cement chances for Zuma retaining his position in Mangaung.

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