We need each other, Cosatu boss tells SACP

2015-07-09 13:05

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Johannesburg - Trade union federation Cosatu, the SACP and the ANC need one another now more than ever as they face threats of division, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini said on Thursday.

"No single ally of this alliance should have the luxury that they can go at this alone. I want to say to the SACP and the ANC, you can't go without the workers. We need each other now more than we did before."

Dlamini was speaking at the SA Communist Party's special national congress at the University of Johannesburg's Soweto campus.

The congress followed a tripartite alliance summit last week in which the partners attempted to resolve issues causing discord between members. Cosatu's special national congress kicks off on Monday.

Dlamini, addressing hundreds of SACP delegates, said reports that the party was working to divide the trade union federation were untrue. "If it wasn't for SACP, if it wasn't for ANC, we wouldn't be where we are today."

‘We must respect each other’

He urged members to respect the alliance and to move on from the topic of divisions.

"We understand that while we will be robust as workers, we must respect each other as alliance partners.

"Let's move on now and build Cosatu, not even analysing Cosatu through the template or window of a leader called Zwelinzima Vavi; uhambile, uxoshiwe (he is gone, he was chased out)."

He said during his interactions with union branches across the country, not a single member had called for Vavi's return to the federation.

"Even in the unions among the four who are outside the federation, comrades are fighting for their Cosatu, not for any individual."

Cosatu will be holding its fourth special national congress from Monday. About 2 550 delegates are expected to attend.

Dlamini said there had been reports that there were plans to disrupt the congress.

"We are prepared for this. We have done all that needs to be done to ensure Cosatu has a special national congress."

Unions express dissatisfaction

Nine unions were unhappy that the expelled National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and Vavi wiould not be part of the congress to state their cases and appeal their expulsions. They requested a special national congress be held to address the matter.

Numsa was expelled from Cosatu in November last year over its decision not to support the ANC in the general elections held earlier in 2014, a violation of Cosatu’s constitution.

On May 11, the High Court in Pretoria ordered the trade union federation to hold the special national congress. Numsa and other unions had brought the court application.

On June 9, the High Court in Johannesburg dismissed Numsa’s application to be declared an affiliate of Cosatu. This meant it cannot attend the special national congress.

Only four unions to attend congress

Numsa can still appeal its expulsion at an ordinary federation congress scheduled to take place in November.

Vavi was expelled from Cosatu at the end of March, following his boycott of the trade union federation's meetings. He was initially placed on suspension for having an affair with a junior employee.

He said in May he would not appeal his expulsion until Cosatu held a “legitimate congress” involving all those “purged" from the organisation.

The nine unions are the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the SA Catering Commercial and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu), the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA (Pawusa), the South African State and Allied Workers Union (Sasawu), the Communication Workers Union (CWU), the SA Football Players Union (Safpu), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Democratic Nursing Union (Denosa) and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

On Thursday Cosatu's acting general secretary, Bheki Nthsalintshali, said only four of the unions would attend the congress.

"Four of the eight unions who requested the congress haven't been part of the process. So we have lost their input in the process."

Read more on:    sacp  |  cosatu  |  anc  |  johannesburg  |  labour

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