Cosatu president warns of 'casualties' as they battle Zuma

2017-06-01 17:54
Sdumo Dlamini. (Simone Kley, Netwerk24)

Sdumo Dlamini. (Simone Kley, Netwerk24)

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Pretoria - Labour federation Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini has warned of casualties as the organisation plans to intensify its call for Zuma to go.

"My daughter called me about a cat at our door, it was dead and its stomach contents were outside," said Dlamini.

"Tomorrow it's not going to be a cat, it is going to be a human being," Dlamini told delegates at Cosatu's 6th Central Committee meeting in Irene.

He was describing to workers an event which took place at his home shortly after the federation called for President Jacob Zuma to step down.

Cosatu has since barred the president from speaking at any of its events, after he was booed and heckled at the federation's Workers' Day Rally in May.

In the example he gave, Dlamini told workers to be prepared for casualties as they fight for what they believe is right.

"This is a battle and - like any other battle - there are bound to be casualties, in whatever form it happens," he said.

The federation's first deputy president, Tyo Tyo James, said there was no other meaning behind the cat story except to intimidate Dlamini.

"It is delivering a message that says: 'You will end up like this cat,'" said James.

"Why would these people do this? They are doing it because he is part of Cosatu that's taken a decision for President Zuma to step down."

READ: Cosatu praises 'lead fire extinguisher' Ramaphosa

Prepared to fight

This week also saw protesters, believed to be Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association members, demonstrating outside the home of South African Communist Party deputy president Solly Mapaila, in defence of Zuma.

The protest has been broadly condemned, except by Zuma and the MKMVA.

Dlamini said he was prepared to fight, and said he wanted to see workers going to African National Congress branches to persuade members of the governing party to back the federation's call for Zuma's current deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, to replace him as ANC president in December.

"The decisions taken by any structure are binding on all of us," he said, vowing that he would be at the forefront of those calling for Ramaphosa to lead the party.

Dlamini has often been positioned as a Zuma man, with some in the federation calling on him to endorse the decision which was taken by unions.

He also faced some criticism from the floor during the resolution debates, with National Union of Mineworkers health and safety officer Peter Bailey calling on Dlamini to act as the federation's president.

"You are not assisting in uniting the federation. President of the federation, lead that process because you have almost two million workers behind you. If you can't take that responsibility, then please don't be ashamed to rise and say so," said Bailey.

Apology

Dlamini also apologised for attending Zuma's 75th birthday bash, which happened following Cosatu's call for the president to step down.

"I once again apologise unreservedly for attending the birthday party, and my utterances. I apologise," he said.

"We wish you, that in these hard‚ trying times‚ as a father‚ a husband and leader‚ remain strong‚" Dlamini had said.

He was accused of creating conflicting messages with his appearance at the party, as the federation he led had already expressed a lack of confidence in Zuma.

Dlamini also placed blame on the media for creating the perception that he was a Zuma ally.

"No other relationship between the president of Cosatu and the president of the ANC, beyond the organisational relationship," he said to journalists following his closing address.

James said the media decided to isolate Dlamini, by saying that he was not part of the federation's decision for Zuma to go.

"The media decided to isolate him to say he was not part of the decision. He was part of the discussions, all of us were part of the discussions," he said.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  sdumo dlamini  |  pretoria  |  politics

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