Durban – Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini has dismissed media reports that "he has not been seen" from the federation's events since President Jacob Zuma was booed off stage at the May Day rally in Bloemfontein.
"There’ve been media reports suggesting that I’ve not been seen since May because I was embarrassed in Bloemfontein when the president was refused from addressing the May Day rally of Cosatu. I’m doing Cosatu work all the time ... but I’m not going to ask you to follow me around. I’m not Michael Jackson who is a popstar," he said on Tuesday.
Dlamini, who was addressing the media on the state of readiness for Cosatu’s Wednesday march, accused the media of snubbing his addresses at recent events he presided over.
"Two weeks ago, I was here in KZN to preside over and address the shop stewards council of Cosatu KZN. The media left before I could even speak. They left after comrade Blade Nzimande spoke and went around and said I’m nowhere to be seen," he said.
Dlamini said he has "sensed that the media is running a frenzy story about him being on sick leave".
"I’m quite healthy by the way. I’ve never been on sick leave. I participate in programs of the federation. I’ve never seen any doctor. I’ve been abroad for only four days, not for two weeks. I’m doing Cosatu work as mandated by the collective," he said.
He accused the people who were calling for Cosatu to break away from its alliance with the ANC of being "blackmailers".
"There are people saying Cosatu can’t strike because they are in alliance with the ANC. They’ve been calling for Cosatu to break away from the alliance. Those are the people who want to blackmail us. They act as if once we take that decision they’ll turn around and appreciate Cosatu, they won’t," he said.
Dlamini said they have no interest in trying to respond to "doom-sayers" who believe the march would not be a success.
"We raise the plight of the workers in this country. We’re not in competition with any other federation, new or old. We are simply doing our work as [a] federation," he said.
Dlamini said he has been deployed to KZN to assist with mobilisation and to lead the march on Wednesday.