ANC not taking sides in Cosatu battle - Zuma
Jacob Zuma (Picture_AP)
Polokwane - The African National Congress has no intention of taking sides in Cosatu's internal battle, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.
"Our [ANC] intervention is frank, comradely and honest," he told thousands of people at Cosatu's May Day rally in Polokwane, Limpopo.
"It has no intention to take sides, it only has one intention, to help Cosatu to unite."
There have been divisions in the Congress of SA Trade Unions centred around its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
Last month, Vavi returned to work after eight months on suspension. The High Court in Johannesburg overturned the decision of Cosatu's central executive committee (CEC) to put him on special leave.
Following the court decision, a special CEC meeting was held to suspend Vavi again, but an ANC task team led by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa brokered a solution.
Zuma said Cosatu was an important partner in the ANC's alliance with it and the SA Communist Party.
"A vote for the alliance in this election is key to our freedom, democracy and development."
South Africa will hold its fifth democratic election next on Wednesday.
Earlier, the crowd at the Peter Mokaba Stadium cheered and chanted Zuma's name as he walked a lap around the pitch. He was flanked by Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini and SA Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande.
The 40 000 seater stadium was half filled with members of the ANC in yellow party T-shirts and alliance partner members in red shirts.
Addressing workers at the rally, Dlamini said Cosatu needed to shame its enemies.
"We can only shame our enemies... and shame the hell out of all of those who say Cosatu is falling apart. We are saying Cosatu is here and Cosatu is here to stay."
Dlamini praised Zuma.
"President Jacob Zuma is our leader, we respect you in Cosatu."
Nzimande pledged the SACP's support for Cosatu and the alliance with the ANC.
He said Cosatu had held 28 successful May Day rallies around the country.
"They are all a success, thanks to yourselves [the workers]."
He called on government to make all public holidays associated with the struggle non-trading days so that workers could celebrate.