Sadtu pain for Dlamini

2014-07-24 00:00

COSATU president Sdumo Dlamini yesterday told of the “pain” felt while watching Sadtu members turn on one another.

Speaking at the provincial conference of the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) in Durban yesterday, he urged members of the federation’s affiliates to defend their unions rather than individuals.

“Once you defend an individual, you collapse the organisation,” Dlamini told a hall packed with member neatly kitted out in white or lime-green shirts, topped off with black or red ties.

Dlamini told the delegates of the “pain” arising from observing Sadtu members defending their headquarters from fellow members, and members of some affiliates “almost kill each other” due to open divisions in Cosatu.

One such incident happened earlier this year when members of Sadtu and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) had to be separated by police at a Durban hotel after a fight threatened to break out.

“It is something I don’t wish for my worst enemy — to see comrades fight one another instead of the enemy,” he said.

As Dlamini and other union leaders addressed the delegates, it was clear that there was an elephant in the room — opposition parties and those perceived to be in another faction within Cosatu came under attack.

Dlamini took a swipe at those who said the ANC has run its race and it was time for “a new thing”.

“Cope came as new thing. It is history today. What used to be called Agang never got to be born. It is dead today.”

Dlamini said the “EFF are children who play every day in Parliament”.

Sadtu’s outgoing provincial chairperson, Mabutho Cele, attacked Sadtu leaders who distanced themselves from the union’s decisions.

In a veiled reference to the EFF, Cele said they could not be the “vanguards of the working class” without revolutionary theory.

He called Numsa leaders demagogues who were “ultra-leftists used as pawns in a chess game”.

The outgoing chair also took a swipe at Sadtu leaders who reportedly met in Bloemfontein plotting to form a splinter union.

Speaking on anarchism, Cele spoke about “the tall man” in what can be interpreted as a reference to Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, saying being chosen to lead was a privilege.

Referring to some members complaining about the absence of expelled president Thobile Ntola, Cele ­answered in a round-about way, saying “we are all present even if he is not here”.

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