Cosatu praises 'lead fire extinguisher' Ramaphosa

2017-05-30 21:39
Sdumo Dlamini. (Simone Kley, Netwerk24)

Sdumo Dlamini. (Simone Kley, Netwerk24)

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Tshwane - The political marriage of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and trade union federation Cosatu was sealed on Tuesday as they sang each other's praises.

Cosatu is hosting its 6th central committee meeting in Irene, where more than 300 delegates have gathered to review its previous resolutions.

The federation's president, Sdumo Dlamini, who was chastised by a union leader for failing to reiterate the federation's decisions in his opening address on Monday, spent a lengthy period praising the deputy president and thanking him for the various roles he had played in South Africa's democracy.

"You came in as if you have been there all the time, steered the ship that was beginning its journey to lead us into a democracy as the secretary general of the ANC,” Dlamini said of Ramaphosa's previous role in the ANC.

Dlamini has often been criticised for failing to fall in line with the federation's position to endorse Ramaphosa as the next ANC president when President Jacob Zuma steps down in December.

The trade union federation had also decided to call for Zuma to step down as the head of state and recently made a decision to ban him from all its events, this after the president was booed by workers at the national May Day rally in Bloemfontein.

"Your history speaks for itself," he repeated throughout his address.

Dlamini told delegates at the meeting that Ramaphosa had proven himself as a tried and tested leader who remained faithful to the movement.

He said he remembered the debates at Cosatu in 2012 were "very intense".

Thanking Ramaphosa 

Dlamini said Ramaphosa had not just been a deputy president, but had also been "a lead fire extinguisher" and a "lead negotiator when things were deemed to be not okay".

"You led us at Nedlac when things were not easy, when we felt our government was undermining our rights to our retirement funds, that hot potato was thrown in our hands,” said Dlamini.

He also thanked the deputy president for the leadership he showed throughout negotiations towards a minimum wage agreement.

Ramaphosa in turn told the room of how Cosatu played a critical role during the talks, describing it as "a landmark" and saying it was "unprecedented in the history of this country".

"Your comrades were brilliant, they knew their stuff, were always much more prepared than the other negotiators, they knew their facts and knew they were negotiating on behalf of 6 million who earned below the amount we agreed on," said Ramaphosa.

He acknowledged that there might be some criticism levelled against the federation but urged members to accept the agreement of a minimum wage as a victory.

Ramaphosa also touched on the role the federation played in the tripartite alliance with the ANC and the SACP.

"What I like, admire and enjoy is that the components of our alliance, principally, Cosatu and the SACP, is you have on a number of occasions been very thoughtful," said Ramaphosa.

He said they should continue in that vein at an alliance council on June 4.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  sdumo dlamini

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