Cosatu delegates get hungry on the high road

2012-09-19 10:41

As the Cosatu got down to the real business of the labour federation on the third day of its congress, organisers had trouble keeping delegates in the plenary hall and out of the dining room.

Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi at the start of this morning’s plenary at least twice had to call delegates back into the hall as the organisational, treasurer’s and socio-economic reports were debated by affiliates.

Losi also told delegates not to “force” their way into the dining hall that is just behind the meeting hall while the plenary was on.

She said they shouldn’t be eating while they should be in the hall debating organisational matters.

Earlier Losi complained that the four-day congress was two days behind schedule and reports would not be presented as indicated on the programme, but only be debated.

The congress started two hours late on Monday, but was delayed by several more hours after delegates sparred about issues such as what the difference is between a programme and an agenda.

Most of the apparent petty differences were a cover for deeper political divisions over Cosatu leadership after all six office bearers were unanimously re-elected in an apparent compromise.

Delegates also debated extensively about the political report, which was delivered by Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in the morning.

It took him almost three hours to deliver the 29-page summary of the report.

In it he warned that Cosatu should not take the “low road” and get so caught up in political squabbles that they forget to do the organisational work.

The “high road” would involve the organisation focusing on its work and cooperating with government to fight poverty, unemployment and inequalities.

Vavi this morning in an informal conversation joked that the congress had been on the low road in the past two days.

Unlike on the first day, when congress adjourned for lunch shortly before 4pm, today’s lunch break looks set to be on time.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and Planning Minister Trevor Manuel are set to address delegates this afternoon.

» Follow @carienduplessis and @City_Press for updates from the congress.

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