We won’t walk out on you, Vavi tells ANC

2013-04-08 00:00

CONGRESS of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) boss Zwelinzima Vavi yesterday assured the ANC that the labour federation would not walk out of the tripartite alliance.

“If you are in a relationship and in that relation you are 70% happy, you stay in that relationship,” Vavi said to applause from Cosatu’s shop stewards’ council in Durban.

Vavi also assured the ruling party that Cosatu would again back the ANC in the next general elections, despite certain concerns.

“We want you back [in power] because we know exactly the consequences if we allow that madam to take the leadership of this country,” Vavi said in reference to Democratic Alliance leader Hellen Zille.

However, the labour federation’s support to the ANC was not without conditions.

“There is no relationship that is not unconditional. We don’t have unconditional love. You must deliver a better life for all,” he said.

Vavi also dared the ANC to fight corruption.

“We will campaign for the ANC — but fix corruption …” he said.

Earlier, newly elected ANC provincial chairperson Senzo Mchunu said relations between Cosatu and ANC in KwaZulu-Natal were good.

“We should intensify the relations in the province at all levels. Our relationship is not according to weather,” Mchunu said.

He added the alliance had a number of challenges to address before the next year’s elections that would pit the ANC against the DA.

“We must not expose the ANC unnecessarily,” he said, adding that Cosatu should go all out to mobilise for the ANC on the streets.

Mchunu said the alliance was challenged to deal with the harsh living conditions of farm workers.

“It is an issue we can’t delay any more. We must put it in our agenda to systematically address it,” he said.

Vavi said the labour federation was failing to organise vulnerable workers on farms and in domestic jobs and in the taxi, hotel and security industries.

He said Cosatu was far from realising the 4,4 million membership target it set in 2003 for 2015 because of weaknesses in its internal organisation.

Currently, the labour federation’s membership stands at 2,2 million.

Vavi said some Cosatu unions were challenged by the overlap in membership base, especially in the public service, resulting in “poaching wars”.

This happened when two-thirds of workers were not unionised, the labour federation leader said.

“We won’t walk out to them. We want to out-organise each other.”

Vavi said corruption within unions was a concern.

“All unions are perceived to be corrupt by members,” he said, adding that 30% of workers claimed to have witnessed corruption in unions.

Vavi, who was himself accused recently of complicity in corruption over the sale of the Cosatu building and acquisition of new offices, again offered to resign if there was evidence.

“If any person inside the federation or outside the federation can produce any form of evidence that I betrayed the trust of the workers, I will resign that day.

“I will not wait for any disciplinary processes. The day the evidence is shown, I will walk away,” he said to applause.

In what was seen as a reference his detractors, Vavi said: “I was elected at the congress. Everybody must accept that.”

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