No love lost between Cosatu and Vavi

2015-11-20 10:43
Zwelinzima Vavi. (Netwerk24)

Zwelinzima Vavi. (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - There is no love lost between Cosatu and its axed general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who announced that he will not be appealing his expulsion from the trade union federation.

Reacting to the announcement, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Friday claimed that Vavi, who had led the organisation for 14 years, allowed the federation to collapse yet still did not take responsibility.

"His primary achievement has been in confusing the public mind into believing that he has genuine beliefs and that he cares about anyone except himself," Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said in a statement.

"But we want to take responsibility because he did not create himself, we did so when we treated him with exaggerated respect, but we admit our fault and we have learned our lessons."

Pamla said it came as no surprise that Vavi withdrew his appeal seeing as the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) had done the same.

Numsa was expelled from Cosatu in November last year and Vavi in March this year.

Vavi on Thursday insisted that he was fired for refusing to dismiss thousands of Numsa workers from the trade union federation.

‘No regrets’

Vavi said he had no regrets over his actions. He said an ANC task team, which had tried to facilitate the matter, had agreed that pushing Numsa out would have been wrong.

He claimed that propaganda had since been spread to try and make the dismissal of the Numsa members sound better than it actually was.

"The real reason I was dismissed was that I could not find it in my conscience to implement a decision to dismiss 340 000 members of Numsa from their federation - a step that would undermine and eventually destroy the unity so painstakingly worked for by our forbearers," Vavi told journalists at a media briefing in Johannesburg.

Pamla described Vavi's statement as a "political striptease" and said it was a sign of a man who was struggling to adjust and redefine himself outside of Cosatu.

‘Rebuilding Cosatu’

However, he said Cosatu was now focused on its upcoming national congress, which starts in Midrand, Johannesburg next week.

"We are focused on rebuilding the unity of Cosatu and strengthen its capacity to wage serious battles for the workers and the working class both in our country and beyond our borders," he said.

The trade union federation has been preoccupied with infighting and a division between support for Vavi and president Sdumo Dlamini.

A number of Cosatu unions are in disarray and face financial woes. There has been infighting over jostling for leadership positions and corruption in some unions.

Cosatu acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali earlier this week said the federation would use its congress to move "out of the dark period of imposed disunity and manufactured divisions" into a positive era.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  johannesburg  |  politics  |  labour

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