Zuma lashes out at unions

2015-03-15 13:15
President Jacob Zuma (File, Sapa)

President Jacob Zuma (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma has reportedly lashed out at trade unionists telling them to stick to matters on the shop floor and to stay out of politics.

According to the Sunday Times, this comment could be aimed at the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and at Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Numsa is in the process of forming a political party. It’s general secretary Irvin Jim and Vavi are ardent critics of Zuma.

Zuma reportedly said: “If you are a unionist and become too much of a politician, you don’t know how to deal with factory-floor issues.”

The comments by Zuma were made during his address to mourners at the reburial ceremony of struggle stalwart Moses Kotane in Rustenburg on Saturday. The comments come at a time when an ANC task team led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa are probing ways to find a solution to the problems in Cosatu that led to the expulsion of Numsa from the federation last year.

But the newspaper reports that Jim claims Zuma’s comments show the president is involved in sowing division in Cosatu.

Earlier this month Fin24 reported that a forensic report into alleged impropriety in the sale of Cosatu's old head office and purchase of a new one implicates general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, the trade union federation said.

The report, by auditing firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo, which was handed to the central executive committee (CEC), showed that the auditors had not been able to meet Vavi despite their attempts to do so, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told reporters in Johannesburg.

The report was handed to the committee at its three-day meeting this week.
 
"The meeting mandated the NOBs [national office bearers] to write a letter to the Cosatu general secretary to meet with the auditors to provide any information which may be required," Ntshalintshali said.

"The special CEC will receive the final report and make a determination on the way forward based on the recommendations in the report."

There were allegations that Vavi's stepdaughter was involved in one of the companies that worked on the head office transaction.

Vavi boycotted this week's CEC. This was after some affiliates announced they would stay away until the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) was reinstated as a Cosatu member.

Numsa was expelled from the trade union federation in November.

Ntshalintshali said Cosatu had been served court papers by Numsa challenging its suspension.

Numsa is allowed to appeal its expulsion at a Cosatu national congress. Ntshalintshali said a special national congress would be held in July.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  numsa  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  jacob zuma  |  zwelenzima vavi

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