Cosatu in pre-Mangaung war of signals, iPad images, songs

2012-09-20 09:51

The final day of Cosatu’s four-day congress got off to a noisy start as delegates showed hand signals to indicate their preference or not for President Jacob Zuma.

The labour federation has so far avoided discussing who they would support at the ANC’s elective congress in Mangaung in December.

As delegates streamed into the hall at the start of this morning’s programme at 9am, groups of union members were already singing songs and marching around the Gallagher Convention Centre hall.

Following a message of support, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi started delegates in a song, saying: “Sihamba noMsholozi, Sihamba noPresident (We are going with Msholozi, we are going with the president)”

Vavi, apparently in response to signals shown by delegates, stopped the singing to remind delegates that singing in favour of serving leaders was allowed according to Cosatu’s house rules, but making “divisive” hand signals were not.

This led Popcru delegates to put up their hands showing two fingers, a signal used by Zuma’s supporters, and Numsa members to show soccer substition signs, a sign that they want to see Zuma replaced.

One of the leaders joked that those putting up two fingers were Kaizer Chiefs supporters as it’s a sign used by supporters of the soccer team.

Another round of singing ensued, this time a more neutral song saying: “We are going forward even if times are hard.”

Some Numsa members also took to their chairs, with one raising his downturned hands to resemble two shower heads above his head, a signal started by supporters of expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema in criticism of Zuma.

Another Numsa member discreetly displayed an iPad with Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s picture on it, calling for him to be president.

Vavi eventually managed to silence delegates, and a debate around Cosatu’s socio-economic report, which was started last night, continued.

Asked about the singing at an impromptu press conference on etolls this morning, Vavi said he would take questions on the matter later.

The congress has resolved to leave the decision of which leader to support in Mangaung to Cosatu’s central executive committee and to pronounce only in October, when the ANC officially opens nominations.

The labour federation’s leadership seemed to have been divided about whether to support Zuma or not, with Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini openly declaring his support.

Vavi has until recently been very critical, but his stance appears to have softened considerably since the unanimous nomination and re-election of all six of Cosatu’s national office bearers.

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

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.