Mantashe: Cosatu, don’t dig your heels

By Drum Digital
10 November 2014

The ANC says it is up to Cosatu “to smell the coffee” and find compromises that will bring about unity in the embattled federation.

The ruling party says it cannot celebrate the decision by its labour ally to expel the National Union of Metalworkers of SA  (Numsa) last Friday.

Addressing the media at the party’s national headquarters in Johannesburg, ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe describe Cosatu’s decision as “disappointing”.

“We reaffirm our position that the expulsion of Numsa from the federation is bad for Cosatu itself, it is bad for the ANC, bad for the alliance, the progressive forces as well as for society in general,” he said.

Mantashe said the problems facing Cosatu were not “insurmountable nor the differences irreconcilable”, but said the solution to the problems lies in Cosatu itself.

He said while the allies were independent parties, the ANC would engage Cosatu on the matter.

“They must meet half way and have a decision that pulls them together…don’t dig your heels, come out of the trenches,” he said.

Seven unions today pulled out of Cosatu’s decision-making body in solidarity with the Numsa. They claim that the situation in Cosatu is worse than it was when the ANC task team, led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, intervened to bring about an end to the strife that has rocked Cosatu for the past few months.

But Mantashe disputed this: “If it (Cosatu) rejects unity, it can’t be the failure of the ANC, it’s the failure of the federation to appreciate the importance of unity.”

He said it was unlikely that the unions would achieve much by disengaging from the federation.

Mantashe also rejected Numsa’s accusation that it had abandoned its radical Freedom Charter, saying the governing party achieved a lot in redistributing resources over the last 20 years.

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