Cosatu boss behaves as if he is President Vavi

2009-09-26 12:25

PRESIDENT Zwelinzima Vavi. That’s quite a thought but in a democratic state it’s as entirely legitimate an aspiration for the trade union leader as it is for each of us. At this week’s 10th Cosatu congress Vavi threw his hat into the political ring.

Cosatu’s longest-serving ­general secretary is tired and told the ANC and the South African Communist Party that he was ready for political office. And not as general secretary, he said. Which means he would like the presidency.

If he’d like political power this is the way for Vavi to get it, not by his action this week – Cosatu bayed for Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel’s head.

It demanded that the government ban and not regulate ­labour brokers.

It insisted that government revoke the Green Paper on the National Planning Commission. By raising temperatures of a turf war Zwelinzima ­behaves as if he is already President Vavi.

This is because of the odd system of governance of the ANC, Cosatu and the SACP. Throughout the administration of the former president, Thabo Mbeki, the unions complained that his government had ­become an ANC-led government rather than an alliance-led ­government.

That, essentially, was what this week’s Cosatu congress was about. The union federation wants to ensure that it ­co-governs.

This was the tacit promise it received when it placed its significant weight behind President Jacob Zuma when he ran for the highest office.

Now Cosatu wants its own way or it will seek to make the state ungovernable.

Zuma is in an impossible spot of his own creation.

By setting up a cabinet of ­unworkable compromise and not clarifying the exact similarities and differences between the different ideological strains within it, he has left government open to the turf wars that started at the congress this week.

Is Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel in charge of economic policy? Or is Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan? Or is Manuel, who ­after all has been charged with formulating the grand 2020 ­national plan, which must of necessity be guided by economic policy?

These are tough questions and there is only one person who can clarify them and bring an immediate cessation to hostilities. And that person is ­Zuma, not Vavi.

It was the ANC that won the election in April, not Cosatu. And it governs all of us, not only the blue-collar workers, as much as they hold up more than half the sky.

To that end, government’s mandate to canvass opinion through green papers and its economic stewardship is much broader than the agenda ­Cosatu set out. If Vavi wants to be president now, it must be on his own ticket.

Join the conversation! 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. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

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


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 network.


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.