Vavi says Cosatu will not be weakened

2012-08-24 16:00

Johannesburg - Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi says the attacks on the federation in the wake of the Marikana tragedy will not weaken it.

Vavi, who was addressing the media along with other federation leaders, said there was a plot to weaken Cosatu because of the political power it wielded through its 2.2 million-strong membership.

Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini named expelled ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, African People’s Convention leader Themba Godi, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa and the DA as being among those who wanted to reduce Cosatu’s power.

Vavi said part of the “onslaught” was the rise of splinter unions such the National Transport and Allied Workers' Union and Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, which broke away from the SA Transport and Allied Workers’ Union and the National Union of Mineworkers.

“Suddenly politicians who, on a daily basis, condemn workers for being too militant and for acting against the interests of the unemployed, are suddenly expressing sorrow and disgust and have even have the guts to blame ‘defocus’ among unions for this state of affairs.

“Their latest recruit is former ANC Youth league leader Julius Malema, a wealthy essentially right-wing leader, who demagogically exploits any perceived weakness to encourage workers to leave their union, their only means of defence.

'Skiet en donder'

“What all these opportunist right-wing politicians have in common is to blame Cosatu for the workers’ problems and try to divide and weaken the workers’ movement,” he said.

He said the federation’s conference, which is expected to be held in Johannesburg next month, would discuss ways the unions could give better services to their members and thwart the rival “bogus unions and their political and financial backers”.

He lamented the conditions under which mineworkers toiled, saying they were paid R5 600 per month even though they faced death every day.

In contrast, he said Lonmin chief financial officer Alan Ferguson was earning R854 581 a month.

Vavi said Cosatu had raised the issue of police brutality – what he termed their “skiet en donder” attitude – for many years.

“We have on countless occasions protested against the immediate resort to firing live ammunition which reveals a serious lack of training and planning on crowd control tactics.

We have also protested the use of rubber bullets on unarmed protesters.

“Police must be trained to negotiate before using force to control crowds. We want to see no guns, including those firing rubber bullets. We want to see riot shields, water cannons and tear gas, not R-5 automatic rifles, to control crowds,” he said.

However, he also slammed the use of weapons by strikers, saying demonstrations should be peaceful.

  • larry.piggott1 - 2012-08-24 16:05

    Cosatu is weakened. They should not be involved in politics. Until they focus on Union matters, they are always going to be mistrusted.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-24 16:31

      Where were you when the sh#$ hit the fan. Talk now, a few days after the fact, is cheap

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-24 16:32

      I just noticed that between the story and the comments section there is an advert with a picture of a pig in front of a bowl of money. That's kind of appropriate for the main player in this story.

      nicholas.graan - 2012-08-24 17:07

      Cosatu is heading towards becoming a political party.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-08-24 20:05

      Who needs Vavi? Only the ANC needs Cosatu, nobody else.

      john.barbarian.9 - 2012-08-25 05:20

      Is that Zwelenzima (Mr.Z) who finaly went out for public comments? Hahahaa Vavi...Gerhard Kress is absolutely right. No One needs Vavi.

  • osmaseko - 2012-08-24 16:08

    your unions failed the workers, enough with the blaming game.....they pay you to render a what they pay you to do nxa

  • nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-24 16:08

    Vavi, how much do ANC municipal managers earn & what do they do for this salary, they earn more than R 1million, R 854 K for a CFO is absolutely normal, lets not compare an unskilled mine workers pay with the top to the company, thats just stupid.

      tebza.ngoatoana - 2012-08-24 16:29

      MMMM...for R854 581 a month i would also shoot to kill..

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-24 16:33

      How do you earn vavi????????????? And still do nothing

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-24 16:33

      Vavi should let us know what he takes home each month. His members might be rather surprised.

      nigel.vanysendyk - 2012-08-24 17:00

      at Tebza well if you have a BCom & MBA with 20 years experience, & you are a CFO of a multinational then R 9 million a year is quite common, why not compare the mine managers salary, its like comparing the presidents salary with the cleaner of the municipal office.

      dave.elmore.5 - 2012-08-24 17:05

      @Kala, Vavis official salary was disclosed some months ago, and if I remember was around the R600k per annum mark

      sisa.mtwana - 2012-08-24 18:41

      R10 million for one man is a bit much, when most of the worker have to make due with R30k and pay half of that to the tax man. The compuny makes Billions of Rand a year and their workers are living in shanty town. I agree with you that the CFO is an educated man and should be paid accordingly, but it would be wise to strack a balance.

      jack.russel.14268769 - 2012-08-24 21:48

      I would have to agree with Sisa. Why should the Oppenheimers make another $5.1 billion with all they already have. Unfortunately no nation is exampt from this type of unfairness

      matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-08-25 07:58

      @Sisa, sorry to nitpick but people who earn 30K a year don't pay any tax. R10 million is excessive but, unfortunately, very common for directors of Lonmin's size.

      sisa.mtwana - 2012-08-25 20:24

      @Matthew please read my friend this info is from SARS, where is yours from? SITE AND PAYE There are two main types of tax that are deducted from an employee's salary or wages: SITE (Standard Income Tax on Employees) PAYE (Pay As You Earn). If you earn more than R27 000 per year, you pay SITE tax which is deducted from your salary every week or month. Your employer must work out how much needs to be deducted. If you earn more than R60 000 per year, you will pay SITE tax on the first R60 000 and then PAYE on everything that you earn over and above R60 000. The amount of PAYE you pay depends on how much you earn and is calculated from tax tables issued by the South African Revenue Services.

  • kala.bafazi - 2012-08-24 16:12

    There's no better sound than that of the tripartate alliance slowly crumbling away. By the way I face death every day on my way to work. Those taxi drivers are a menace to all road users. From the reports that we have been provided with, the ploice tried to negotiate with the miners. Alas the miners did not listen.

      kala.bafazi - 2012-08-24 16:28

      police - ploice don't negotiate. Not to my knowledge anyway. Have a good weekend fellow South Africans

  • Mallela Isaac Mokholoane - 2012-08-24 16:14

    Vavi was passive, pretending to be caring for the working class, now after the Marikane Massacre, he pretends to care bcoz Num is facing a strong rivalry: Shame to Cosatu & Num for yrs u have been selling employees.

      fussed.anderson - 2012-08-24 16:34

      Yes they are in the same class as labour brokers then

  • john.loveland.9 - 2012-08-24 16:14

    None so deaf as those who do not wish to listen. Funny how faultless this thugs considers himself to be. "Suddenly politicians who ... condemn workers for being too militant and for acting against the interests of the unemployed, ..... " “Their latest recruit is former ANC Youth league leader Julius Malema" You got to be joking.... Need to speak to Zille about her recruiting process

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-08-24 16:22

    Never the truth-always a "plot". When all is said and done,cosatu makes millions off of workers,splinter unions are motivated by radicals and they all fail the people they are supposed to be helping in the first place.

  • Duncan Colter - 2012-08-24 16:34

    These guys attack those guys. Those guys attack the other guys. What can be expected from groups that exist only to fight, not govern

  • alan.mcnab.35 - 2012-08-24 16:56

    If mining is such a dangerous industry , why does the Government allow it to continue ? Surely the Government would ban mining on the basis of safety if it was unsafe ? How do other countries in the world manage to mine safely , economically and profitably if it is a life threatening occupation ? Every industry has its safety issues and dangers , that is why safety regulations are made . To protect the lives , health and saftey of the workers in that industry . Why does Vavi think that the Police have bullet proof vests ? Because their lives are threatened or because they get cold ? Every job or occupation has its financial reward based upon the risks and value attributed to the work involved . If the salary in the occupation you are doing is insufficient for the work you do , my suggestion is look for another occupation . Dont try and 'force' your employer to pay more than what your days effort is worth to the company . That is a recipe for bankruptcy . Mr Vavi , you must compare apples with apples ! The FD of Lonmin has a university degree and more than likely , more than one , and has spent years at university and has years of working experience , how do you compare his salary to that of an uneducated manual labourer , who has most probably trained not more than a month at the mine training school ?

  • jeremy.forbes.1293 - 2012-08-24 17:04

    Shame, he must be really frightened, a case of shouting in the dark.

  • pieter.calitz - 2012-08-24 17:14

    hmmm. R5600 per month. According to Lonmin it is over R10000 without bonuses and more than R11000 with bonuses. What is going on? Who is lying?

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-08-24 22:01

      Not just according to LonMin - as per the auditors sent in by the Chamber of Mines. Certain OTHER mining roles are earning circa the R5600 a month but the Rock Drill Operators (the ones who were striking) are in the R10-12000 bracket. So, we can all ask WTF is going on? Because this whole story stinks of a prelude to brinkmanship and one of the biggest cons the nation's been subjected to

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-24 17:16

    Stop using the news to preach..Cosatu should have intervened and ensured that there was proper negotiation or at the very least ensured that the problems were highlighted...violent workers are how can the police stand there with no weapons and be killed as some were a few days efore the deaths of the mineworkers...policemen ambushed and killed is not right in any well as policeman just mowing down people with bullets...the correct training for the police is essential as well as the fact that no citizen can approach a policeman with a weapon and think its ok...its not okay...the are meant to uphold rule of law and when you approach policeman in a threatening manner you are threatening the safety of innocent citizens protected by the police... I must emphasize again that policemen need proper training and the killing of workers could have been prevented or at the least minimised, since some workers may have been armed according to reports in the news.... Either way its a sad moment in SA's history...a loss of life either way is never okay when you consider the workers are risking their lives by going down into a mine that in many instances has resulted in loss of life due to the nature of the work... People like Julius Malema put our country to shame...he has no ethics and is a rude idiot of the highest degree

  • shaun.brooks.79 - 2012-08-24 17:19

    We will never succeed in this country until we respect the law as well as the value of a life...the policemen need to be trained to be sensitive to the situations they find themselves in...but people also need to realise that they cannot be armed when dealing with police...that cannot end well for either party...and never does end well

  • alan.mcnab.35 - 2012-08-24 17:23

    If you are going to a wage negotiation , why take knobkerries , pangas , spears , guns and muti to make you invincible ?

  • david.lebethe - 2012-08-24 17:50

    It is clear that Cosatu is feeling presence of a new found trade union by mineworkers and mass resignation of other mineworkers around Rustenburg. It is strange that it had to take the bloodbath we have just experience not so long ago, for Cosatu to now strategise on how to fortify their membership. It is rather stooping too low for Vavi to label other people when Cosatu (and its affiliates) failed or neglected its membership. He should stop moarning, politics is about opportunism as Malema is beating them at their own game.

  • mokgadi.deborah - 2012-08-24 18:14

    R10. Million to R60k pa is ridiculously unjust. No wonder the miners were so angry. Let's say CFO is paid a reasonably market related, but what about the poor miners? Should they not fairly paid in relation their management?. There is definitely a need to balance the act.

      emile.vanrayner.7 - 2012-08-25 08:36

      no there is not. you get paid for the work you do, not through some kind of balancing act. balance is counter productive to profits and efficiency in a company. having certain posts in a company be better payed creates a sense of competition. people want to work harder to get better posts and earn better money. it makes people want to educate and train themselves, so that they are better suited than other people to do a job, so that they are smarter and more qualified. most people see capitalism as some kind of ploy by rich people to keep poor people down, its not. capitalism is crazy simple - make more money. if you are a benefit to your company they will pay you more. if the miners thought they deserved more pay, they should have brought it to the attention of their employers by legal means. if I was running a giant company like lonmin and my baseline workers were unhappy i would at least make the effort to consider their plight, lest i lose 3 weeks of labour and my profits get hit. it should be far easier to just pay my workers more.

      mokgadi.deborah - 2012-08-25 12:32

      Emile you worry about dwindling profits more than the source of the revenue. I can tell you the mines lose more money each day the miners are not at work.

  • siphiwo.maurice - 2012-08-24 18:45

    Sdumo Dlamini and your Generals, you are now the shadow of your former self. You slept in the same bed as your masters, forgetting the people who pay your bills. You are too involved in government politics and don't even raise a finger when your so-called members are killed. Your daily boasting of millions of members, is the very fact that clouded you and made you think, you are a king-pin, the untouchables. You think of nothing other than Mangaung. You are today a disgrace of what Comrade A. Bagai / Comrade J. Gomomo,stood for. A word of advise, leave politics and work for workers, improve their working conditions, improve their wages/salaries, set up bursaries for fellow workers children to attend high institutions of learning. When you boast, boast by telling the nation how have you moved and changed the lives of the workers and tell the nation how many children have you sent to high institutions of learning.

  • butch.grealy - 2012-08-24 18:47

    The problem we have with Vavi and Cosatu is that their power base stems from fear & intimidation caused by physical violence, and not by the with holding of labour. The weakness of with holding labour is caused by a high unemployment figures as a result of enchecked ANC corruption, greed and BEE forcing large parts of the population from being competitive or productive. When Cosatu say "we will not be weakened.." does this mean their members are going to continue to terrorise all and sundry,looting burning and throwing stones, killing & maiming people? Is this what the ANC wants? Is this why they have robbed our ecconomy? The Cosatu attack on the DA march while the police did nothing. Is this the power Cosatu wields? Imagine crawling around underground all day, bearly seeing the sun in winter time, handling a noisey, bone shaking rock drill, breathing foul dusty air while you friends have 'jobs' in the ANC, paying triple what you get for little or no output - I would also go on strike. Would I carry a spear, kerrie or gun? No! Maybe Cosatu affiliates can negotiate a phasing out agreement while the mines search for methods of mechanisation. Maybe we can close the mines temporarily until the platinum price is high enough to pay workers a decent wage. Was this just a Hoax to do exactly that?

  • matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-08-25 08:08

    There is too much protection for

  • matthew.patrick.925 - 2012-08-25 08:32

    There is far too much job protection, for those already employed, in this country, thanks to the unions. They make it more difficult for companies to fire incompetent union members that were being overpaid for being incompetent, thanks to strikes and salary negotiations. That is their only contribution to the country, job security for members. It certainly isn't job creation! They are making it harder and more expensive for companies in unionized industries to hire more staff and, thereby, killing the manufacturing and mining industries. In a perfect world I would like to see productivity increase by the same percent that any future union negotiated salary increases exceed the real inflation rate. If the appalling public sector employee cost:output ratio, released in the passed 7 days or so, is anything to go by then output, for the most part, generally doesn't increase. Just like increasing Angie Motshekga's salary by R500K a year won't make the matric pass rate spike.

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