Cosatu hits out at rivals

2014-05-02 08:51

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President Jacob Zuma and his lieutenants have used the May Day celebrations to attack Cosatu’s rivals in the trade union sector and to appeal to the federation’s members to vote for the ANC on May 7.

Cosatu’s labour day rally at Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium doubled up as the ANC’s provincial Siyanqoba Rally, with around half of the facility’s seats full by the time the proceedings started around an hour late yesterday.

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini, who was billed along with Zuma and SA Communist Party secretary general Blade Nzimande, told the enthusiastic audience that while Cosatu was not an “enemy” of other, smaller union federations, they should not try and capitalise on the internal problems which Cosatu faces.

Cosatu, he said, appreciated the intervention by the ANC in its internal power struggle in a bid to heal the rift between affiliates and the federation’s leadership.

Its Central Executive Committee, he said, had resolved to push for unity. Dlamini’s comments come on the heels of the return to office of Cosatu’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, who had been suspended over an office affair with a junior employee.

“Some of the smaller federations think they can cash in on Cosatu’s problems. They are hoping to make gains at our expense,” he said.

Their leadership should be more responsible as “we cannot have indefinite strikes’’, which undermined both the economy and the interests of workers themselves.

Zuma said that while working-class people had secured gains, which included a worker-friendly labour relations regime, workers had to be “responsible’’ when exercising these rights.

Any worker leader, he said, knew that the most important issues were to preserve their union members’ jobs while fighting for better conditions for them.

He said workers needed to avoid following “tendencies”, which undermined the democratic order and generated conflict unnecessarily.

Zuma also called for a resolution to the platinum industry strike, saying that both sides needed to work towards ending the industrial action, which has continued for almost three months.

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