Cosatu congress: Zuma told to sit and wait

2015-11-23 15:49
Jacob Zuma (GCIS)

Jacob Zuma (GCIS)

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Cosatu delegates refused to allow President Jacob Zuma to address them as they argued about credentials for almost two hours.

Zuma was scheduled to address the 12th Cosatu national congress that is under way at Gallagher Estate  in Midrand at midday today.

But he was forced to leave without doing so as affiliates aligned to expelled union National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) opposed the adoption of credentials. They questioned the status of Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi and the affiliation of the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (Limusa).

Leading the charge in rejecting the credentials was Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu). Fawu argued that Losi should not be at the congress as a national office bearer because she ceased to be one when she resigned from Numsa and crossed the floor to police union Popcru.

Fawu also questioned the legitimacy of Limusa in Cosatu, a decision that was taken by Cosatu leaders and endorsed by the special national congress in July.

Losi sat smiling and giggling on stage as Fawu faced off with affiliates such as transport union Satawu, nursing union Denosa and public servants’ union Nehawu, who all came to her and Limusa’s defence.

Both motions were taken to a vote, leaving Zuma with no other choice but to leave after being kept in the waiting room where he sat with Cosatu President S'dumo Dlamini.

Popcru president Zizamele Cebekhulu, responding to a request for Zuma to speak, said he could not do so until the issue of credentials was dealt with and resolved.

“He can only address a properly constituted congress. The president can still wait,” Cebekhulu said.

A decision was taken to vote on credentials, giving Fawu a short-lived boost in confidence as its members sang rejoicing in their minor victory.

Dlamini later came to inform delegates that Zuma had another engagement at Luthuli House and would have to return at a later time to be decided by the more than 2000 workers at the congress.

A majority of delegates (1962) voted for the adoption of credentials. Only 331 voted against it, and the rest abstained.

Meanwhile, the South African State and Allied Workers Union (Sasawu) withdrew from participating in the congress. Sasawu formed part of nine unions that supported the reinstatement of Numsa and expelled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Sasawu general secretary Mike Ngqolowa said the hostilities that prevailed at the congress “convinced us that we had no hope of the congress discussing the issues which it was called to discuss”.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cosatu congress

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