‘Heavens will not fall if Cosatu allows prof to speak’

2012-09-17 11:52

A debate about political analyst Somadoda Fikeni further delayed proceedings on the first day of Cosatu’s four-day congress in Midrand.

Civil service union Nehawu objected to Fikeni addressing the meeting on the grounds that this had never happened before at a Cosatu congress.

Fikeni, who was at the plenary hall, would apparently speak about the problems confronting the South African political transition and how the country has responded to problems like corruption and materialism.

The unions who opposed Fikeni said the Cosatu central executive committee (CEC) should debate the matter.

However, the police union Popcru countered, and said the congress should not “stoop so low as to invite the professor and (then) tell him to vamoose”.

This was supported by Cosatu deputy president Tyotyo James who said it was unnecessary to put the two motions to a vote, saying those who didn’t want to listen to Fikeni should simply cover their ears.

“(The) heavens will not fall if we allow the professor to come and address (us). Let’s allow the professor to address (the congress),” James said.

This led to Vavi stepping in, saying it was unnecessary to debate the matter.

“We want to plead with you and we know you still have lots of energy. We are delaying unnecessarily. We can’t go back to the CEC and debate among ourselves,” he said.

Nehawu boss Slovo Majola eventually withdrew the objection to Filkile’s address, saying his union was merely raising a matter of principle.

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini was set to address congress at 11:10am but only started at about 1:15pm.

The congress will elect leaders to lead the organisation for the next three years, and Vavi is expected to get re-elected for the fifth term office.

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

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