Vavi repeats apology for helping to oust Mbeki

2016-03-09 16:47
Zwelinzima Vavi (Netwerk24)

Zwelinzima Vavi (Netwerk24)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Stellenbosch - Cosatu is still paying dearly for their affiliation to the ruling ANC party, the trade union federation's former secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said in Stellenbosch this week.

He was on a panel with Solidarity's Flip Buys and seasoned labour journalist Jan de Lange at the annual Woordfees, discussing the role of trade unions in South Africa, and whether they were sustainable.

Vavi, who was ousted from the union after fierce in-fighting, once again apologised "to South Africa" for the union's role in getting rid of former president Thabo Mbeki at Polokwane in 2012.

"I apologised to the country for that mistake, for getting it so wrong. We were angry, and found anyone willing to challenge him and raised them up. We were angry because he was an Aids denialist, and thousands of our people were dying.

"And yes, we are still paying very dearly for it."

Vavi was responding to a comment by facilitator Henry Jeffreys on Cosatu being the "cheerleaders" during the Polokwane palace revolution.

He is now actively campaigning for an independent trade union movement with no affiliation to any political party. "The only pressure should come from our members, not from organisations who think they can control us."

He said part of Cosatu's problem was that their close relationship with the ruling party had led to a situation where they tried to mould the union "into their image".

"Never make friends with people fighting with the enemy without asking what the fight is about," Vavi warned, saying that they had never paused to think why other people were so eager to get rid of Mbeki.

"We were naïve. Others were scared of losing government posts. There were many agendas. That's why I am apologising."

Buys said he agreed with the notion of no political affiliation for unions.

As the "odd man out" among other unions, Solidarity, however, shared many objectives with them, despite ideological differences, he said.

"The fight against corruption, poor governance - we need to get it right."

He reiterated Solidarity's stance that the free market system was the only way to lift people out of poverty.

On the role of unions, De Lange said they were in essence service organisations, whose primary duties were to defend workers' jobs and protect them from harassment by their bosses.

The tragedy of Marikana boiled down to one thing, De Lange said: "It was the union's failure to effectively convey the workers' wage demands to Lonmin."

Vavi said Marikana was indeed a game-changer for unions, because for the first time workers demonstrated that they could stand up on their own, without their leaders. "The farmworkers in De Doorns did the same, and Cosatu was not prepared for any of this."

The panel agreed that unless the mandate of the workers trumped everything, unions ran a real risk of becoming obsolete.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  zwelinzima vavi

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.