Cosatu nothing more than ANC labour desk - Vavi

2015-12-02 16:26
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Foto24)

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Foto24)

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Cape Town – Cosatu is little more than a labour desk of the ruling party, former secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.

Addressing the Botswana Public Employees Union, Vavi told the union that democracy was chronically undermined by neo-liberalism.

"Ruling parties are elected on a manifesto, and are then persuaded by big business to do otherwise when elected into Government."

He blasted Cosatu for what he called its "implosion".

"After years of paralysis as a result of internal battles, Cosatu has now virtually imploded and now remains impotent; it has become little more than a labour desk for the ruling party, the ANC. This has been a real tragedy for many of us, who spent years building the federation.

"The decision to derail the federation, and turn it into a conveyor belt for government, was not an accident, but a deliberate act, a conscious strategy to ensure that Cosatu did not challenge government’s slide into full-scale neo-liberalism," Vavi said.

- Read more: Cosatu confirms Vavi, Numsa expulsions

In November, Cosatu's national congress confirmed Vavi's expulsion, with an overwhelming 1 183 voting in favour of it and 87 voted against.

Vavi also announced that he would not be appealing his expulsion.

Cosatu's second deputy president, Zingiswa Losi, reportedly said the federation had moved on from issues surrounding Vavi and the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa.

Vavi said all the developments within Cosatu had led to a procession of breakaway unions.

"The harsh reality is that the ruling class has stolen Cosatu and many of its affiliates, in a capitalist class offensive to divide and weaken the organised working class. I do not apologise for saying this, but the current Cosatu leadership have been pawns in a much bigger conspiracy, though as willing accomplices they are no less guilty."

He said a lesson learnt by those who had left Cosatu was that trade unions must be democratic, worker-controlled and independent.

"The biggest threat to independence used to come from employers' 'sweet-heart' unions, but today the biggest threat comes from the state and ruling parties."

Unions could not hide behind a label of being apolitical, Vavi insisted.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  zwelinzima vavi

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