INSIDE LABOUR | Trouble at Saftu: It's complicated

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Terry Bell.
Terry Bell.
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Tensions between stalwarts Zwelinzima Vavi and Irvin Jim were not the root cause of the divisions that emerged at this week's Saftu conference. The situation was much more complex than a leadership contest or even a simple two-way split, says Terry Bell.

A destructive political bloodbath was avoided at the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) second elective conference in Boksburg this week. But while no issues were finally settled, the underlying problems, some of which have festered for years, were laid quite bare. Aluta, as the old saying goes, will certainly continua.

That said, amid the considerable skirmishing that triggered a swirl of rumours and allegations, a degree of democracy seems to have been the real - although almost entirely publicly unacknowledged - winner. Delegates, considered by some observers to be mere voting fodder for different factions, proved that they can — and do — think and vote independently.

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