EXCLUSIVE STUDIO INTERVIEW: Cosatu turned into sweetheart of the corrupt - Vavi

Zwelinzima Vavi chats to Terry Bell in the News24Live studio.
Zwelinzima Vavi chats to Terry Bell in the News24Live studio.

Cape Town - Expelled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says Cosatu has been turned into "a toothless dog federation", which has become the "sweetheart" of the corrupt.

He told Terry Bell in an exclusive News24Live studio interview on Thursday that people think if one is "dismissed" you must go home and cry. "That is not what is happening in his case," he said.

Yet he emphasised that "paranoid minds" think he is going for the creation of an alternative federation.

At the same time he said workers are crying out "for an independent, militant, workers' organisation" to deal with the challenges they are facing.

In his view, however, Cosatu has been turned into "a toothless dog federation", which has become the "sweetheart" of the corrupt.

"Workers are tired of fruitless boardroom discussions, which take them nowhere. Their main grievances include low pay, inequalities and casualisation and I have in the past expressed my support for such a campaign," said Vavi.

"For two years we have tried for a special congress [to address these issues]. Instead they dismissed the biggest union with more than 300 000 members because of political differences with leadership and dismissed the general secretary [Vavi] without following procedure. You cannot do that and claim that you are working for unity."

Although there has been talk of a Cosatu congress in July, Vavi said there has been no notice given of such.

"We say do not moan, but mobilise. Ask for decent work and more maternity and paternity leave, for instance. We ask for mobilisation across all the unions," he said.

The Eskom crisis is another challenge he would like to see solved as soon as possible since it affects workers' earnings when businesses cannot operate due to power cuts.

"We asked for a new minimum wage and for better health care, but Cosatu has been defocused from these issues to focus on Zwelinzima Vavi," he said.

"We were asked after Marikana to rebuild, but that has not been done and we see more fracturing of unions. I feel terribly betrayed that all the issues I put my life on the line for have not materialised." 

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