March outside Mapaila's home a 'serious problem' to ANC - NUM

2017-06-01 10:15
Solly Mapaila. (Bongiwe Gumede, City Press)

Solly Mapaila. (Bongiwe Gumede, City Press)

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Tshwane – Unions at labour federation Cosatu’s central committee meeting have joined in the chorus against those who marched to the private home of SA Communist Party (SACP) deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila this week.

Affiliates debated a resolution around the safety of their leaders amid growing tension among the tripartite alliance over those who speak out against President Jacob Zuma.

The federation is holding a four-day central committee meeting in Irene where it will review and amend some of its previous resolutions.

A group, including some that ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said were known members of the Umkhonto WeSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA), protested outside Mapaila’s home in defence of Zuma.

Mapaila has been one of the most vocal critics of Zuma, demanding that he step down as the head of state.

The SACP raised concerns over Mapaila’s safety in April, when it claimed there was a gunman at its memorial event for assassinated general secretary Chris Hani. The party believed Mapaila was the target of a potential attack.

"It’s about violence and unacceptable behaviour against some leaders of the alliance structure," said the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi during the debates at this week's meeting.

Dolopi also linked the increasing culture of threats to the ANC's national elective conference in December.

'Raising an issue of security'

"Tension in the alliance and the country can’t totally be isolated from the question of the upcoming conference of the ANC and you can’t isolate that some opponents of the alliance would have made some very unpopular unprecedented pronouncements leading up to the ANC conference."

WATCH: SACP says gun was pointed at Solly Mapaila

His views however were in contrast with those presented by the ANC’s secretary general who said he believed it had nothing to do with the fierce contestation in the governing party.

"It had nothing to do with the coming national conference. I am saying that because of [the] partners of the alliance who had not made any pronouncement on the coming national conference..."

He said that if people wanted to drag the party into a space that it has not entered, then they are doing a disservice to it.

Sadtu said their proposed resolution was to protect all their leaders, not just Mapaila alone.

"In general, we are raising an issue of security and to protect leaders, [it’s to] also assure leaders that we stand by them."

Dolopi added that each time their leader spoke on behalf of the affiliates they should know that they would be protected by workers.

The resolution was supported by several unions including the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). Its president Piet Matosa said the ANC needed to sit and talk to those marching in the name of the president.

Those who protested outside Mapaila’s home were expected to hold demonstrations outside Cosatu House – they have apparently also issued a similar notice to the Mail & Guardian newspaper.

'Dangerous game'

"There are those who are saying they’ll be marching to Cosatu and if I heard the GS correctly he is saying it’s MKMVA – we don’t have such an affiliate."

Using the murder of Hani to drive home his point, he said there was a move to deport to Poland the only remaining man involved in the murder, Janusz Walus, suggesting there were attempts to further conceal the truth around that assassination from ever being exposed.

He said the ANC needed to talk to those behind the demonstrations.

"If we don’t do that... we will have a serious problem about the safety of our leaders who will be killed...and then the people are deported because people are afraid that they will tell the truth," Matosa said.

He said the threats against some leaders would affect the governing party adversely.

WATCH: Zuma cheered; Mapaila booed at Chris Hani memorial

"What these people are planning to do, will continuously erode the little support that the ANC [has] because of their behaviour," said the NUM president.

Mantashe told journalists that comrades who marched outside Mapaila's home had started a "dangerous game", which should not be allowed in the movement.

"Two names have been recorded, there are instructors of the MKMVA in Limpopo," he said when asked if they knew who the protestors were.

"It would be foolhardy of us to try and deny when comrades are being mischievous."

Read more on:    sadtu  |  cosatu  |  num  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  solly mapaila  |  pretoria  |  protests  |  anc leadership race

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