Midrand painted red as congress gets underway

2009-09-21 11:34

MIDRAND was literally painted red when Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) kicked off its 10th congress at Gallagher Estate today. Businessmen, ANC leaders, former Cosatu leaders were amongst the 3 000 delegates who gathered at the venue.

Clad in their red and black shirts, delegates broke into song : “Willie Madish’usqhel’ amasimb’uqhekez’ umbutho wethu,” ( Willie  Madisha you are full of s* * t for dividing our organization) reverberated in the hall.  Ululations, whistles were heard when  President Jacob Zuma arrived with South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande and Cosatu leader Zwelinzima Vavi.

The delegates will be addressed by Zuma at lunch time. The raging debate over the leadership succession in the ANC is expected to take centre stage when debates start . Cosatu is expected to reaffirm its support for ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who is said to be under fire from certain groupings in the party who want police deputy minister Fikile Mbalula to take over in 2012.

The congress is expected to be not marred by leadership battles that rocked the last congress in 2006. Union leaders have vowed the meeting will focus primarily on debating policies. A debate is expected to rage on police union POPCRU’s suggestion that dagga should be legalised. Vavi is also expected to challenge the workers to debate whether the sex trade should be legalised.

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