Pro-Vavi leaders left out of May Day

2014-04-13 15:00

The leadership of union federation Cosatu has excluded supporters of Zwelinzima Vavi from its schedule of May Day speakers.

The federation’s leaders now find themselves in a dilemma because they are planning to use Workers’ Day, which comes a week before the general elections, to campaign for the ANC.

President Jacob Zuma, Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and SA Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Blade Nzimande are billed to address the main event in Limpopo. But Vavi and Numsa leaders do not feature in any of the provincial or regional celebrations to take place across the country.

Dlamini refused to talk about the plans for May Day, saying City Press had asked the “wrong question”. “Deployments are decided all the time. So [national office bearers] can decide on deployments,” he said.

Similarly, Dlamini refused to explain why most of the pro-Vavi unions were left out when ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s intervention had called for a ceasefire and unity.

He said he would not respond to that question as “my duty is to unite Cosatu”.

Ramaphosa asked Cosatu’s central executive committee to postpone its meeting this week.

The meeting was supposed to discuss the lifting of Vavi’s suspension and the possibility of suspending or expelling metal workers’ union Numsa from the federation to allow the ANC to broker peace.

Numsa has adopted a resolution not to support the ANC at next month’s polls and has called on Cosatu to quit the tripartite alliance.

A union leader told City Press Numsa’s participation on May 1 should hinge on its support for Cosatu’s decision to back the ANC.

“You can’t employ me on that May Day if I am going to be contrary to Cosatu policy and abuse it. Normally, we are guided by notes to speak in one voice.”

The leader said while the ANC’s intervention was welcome, it did not mean there should be no discipline in Cosatu.

The leader said there was no fairness in disciplining the woman who was suspended with Vavi while he had returned to work with no consequences.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said Cosatu had not discussed the message for May Day and suggested it should focus more on issues affecting workers than on elections.

“I think they [Cosatu leaders] are worried about what we will say,” he said.

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