There may be no Zuma moment – Vavi

2013-02-07 18:58

All is not well in the leadership of the Congress of Trade Unions (Cosatu).

This became clear today when Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi fired a broadside at his fellow worker leaders.

He took aim at those who are close to president Jacob Zuma and have been elected to the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC, including Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini.

Vavi spoke at the Chris Hani Institute in Cosatu House today where he was debating the so-called “Lula Moment” in Brazil. This refers to the second term of Brazilian president Lula da Silva which was characterised by economic growth and social spending that saw a narrowing of the equality gap in the South American country.

At the Cosatu congress this was dubbed the “Zuma moment” by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, referring to president Jacob Zuma’s second term as ANC president.

But Vavi made it clear he is unhappy about how his fellow workers are not critical enough of the ANC.

“Are we still united around the principle or are we going to be in a bhuti-bhuti relationship [with the ANC]?” Vavi asked the audience.

“There will be no Zuma moment with a fractured movement. It will just become nice rhetoric for conferences.”

Dlamini and other worker leaders have been elected to the NEC, which decided last week to approve the youth wage subsidy and taking away teachers’ right to strike.

Both are decisions which raised Cosatu’s ire, but Dlamini was quoted as saying the youth wage subsidy may be a “small element” of the ANC’s raft of new youth employment plans.

Vavi said Cosatu’s independence is its mainstay, and suggested that this was under threat.

“Cosatu allies must allow Cosatu to be independent, not try to use remote controls to control a particular agenda,” he said.

The recent reports on Eskom spending millions on sponsoring business breakfasts run by the company owned by the Gupta family – close friends of the president – irked Vavi immensely.

“What type of eggs are these comrades (having) that cost millions? And then they want to tell us 16% increase,” he said, referring to Eskom’s proposed electricity price hike.

He said Cosatu should not become a mouthpiece of the ANC.

“Cosatu must have originality in thought and not just mouth what it has heard at a rally.”

Vavi cited recent reports on spending by the public works department on renovating ministerial residences as well as the “private residence of the president at Nkandla”.

He also has reservations about Manguang, the ANC’s elective conference that took place in December.

“Do the fellows in Mangaung represent what society thinks? I’m not so sure.”

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.