Dlamini justifies Cosatu’s axing of Vavi, says it took 18 months

2015-06-04 08:52
S'dumo Dlamini. Picture: Simone Kley/Foto24

S'dumo Dlamini. Picture: Simone Kley/Foto24

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For a minute the opening session of the National Union of Mineworkers’ 15th national congress could have been mistaken for a Cosatu gathering, judging from the number of times the trade union federation’s name came up in speeches, almost overshadowing issues of its own affiliate.

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini and ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe used part of their time on the podium to highlight the federation’s challenges and how things should be in the future.

Two months after Cosatu resolved to expel its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in a decision that left its affiliates split, Dlamini was still hard at work trying to justify the decision.

Dlamini told delegates yesterday in Boksburg, where NUM’s four-day congress was being held, that decisions by Cosatu were not taken lightly.

He was seemingly also referring to the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), which was also axed over accusations of refusing to accede to the policy of one industry, one union.

Dlamini said people “go out and tell lies about a Cosatu that quickly jumped to expel one of its own”.

“It took Cosatu a solid 18 months to reach that decision. It took the risk of losing the majority of its unions who were impatient about why Cosatu was not taking the decision; it took a solid plan, divisions among workers, it took tolerance of a number of meetings that were happening in the Eastern Cape that were aimed at destroying Cosatu,” he said.

“It took that much … if the NUM had a general secretary who would conduct himself or herself in that manner what would you do?”

Dlamini turned his words to the ANC, which he said was “under attack” and that “dirty money was used to attack branches” of the governing party.

“We should not allow ANC structures to be managed by money. The ANC can be weakened where a branch is weakened,” he said.

“Branches of the ANC are in pockets of businessmen [who] will ensure those going to branch meetings agree with their agenda.”

In his message of support, Mantashe urged Cosatu to concentrate on burning issues affecting workers directly and leave politics to the ANC.

“A divided Cosatu is a weak Cosatu; a divided Cosatu reduces the capacity of Cosatu to fight monopoly capital [and] a divided Cosatu is vulnerable,” he said.

Mantashe urged Cosatu not to worry about what they may perceive as threats for the ANC, saying the governing party was capable of taking on its challengers.

“Leave the question of Numsa not supporting the ANC or forming a party that will contest the ANC; leave that to the ANC. We’ll meet them out there in the field.

“[Numsa] can also start their own party and after a term they will be liquidated. Don’t make it an issue in the federation [and rather] talk about the principle of one industry, one union and one country; one federation.

Addressing Numsa, the leaders of which previously accused Cosatu of having reduced itself to “a labour desk” of the ANC, Mantashe said: “Do not be accused of being a labour desk of the ANC. We don’t need Cosatu to be a labour desk of the ANC. If we want one we’ll form it ourselves.”

Read more on:    s'dumo dlamini  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  numsa  |  num  |  anc

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