Vavi warns of alliance split over ANC move

Cosatu heavyweight Zwelinzima Vavi has warned of a split in the

tri-partite alliance if the ANC took disciplinary action against him.

“This has the potential of breaking the very basis of the alliance

(and) destroy the whole notion of dual membership,” he told the SABC.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions earlier said sources in the African

National Congress revealed plans by the party to lay charges against the

federation’s general secretary.

At a media lunch earlier in the day, ANC leaders would not be drawn

on the matter.

“Tell Vavi to give you a copy of those charges,” secretary-general

Gwede Mantashe said.

The Star newspaper reported that ANC National Working Committee

(NWC) members discussed the possibility of taking disciplinary charges against


According to the report, a potential charge is related to Vavi’s

comments last Thursday when he accused the government of not taking action

against corrupt ministers.

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said the federation would seek an

urgent meeting with the ruling party in a bid to clarify the matter.

“We’ve got it from sources within the ANC. We haven’t been told

officially,” he said.

“As we understand it, it was a decision that charges would be


Craven added: “If the decision is allowed to stand, it ... would

spell the end of the alliance, whose strength has always been that it is a

partnership of independent organisations with shared values.”

‘Small grouping’ behind it

Vavi told the SABC “a small grouping which happened to be in the

majority at the time” lay behind the ANC decision against him.

“(They are) intolerant and hell-bent on using the structures of the

organisation for personal gain, crass materialism and all of that, and hell-bent

on breaking the alliance itself.”

Mantashe earlier said Vavi would tell anyone that would ask he had

received no charges from the ANC.

“The reality is... Vavi will not say he has been charged and he

will not say he has been told by the ANC that he has been charged.”

He said the ANC did not want to talk about “speculation” or things

“under discussion”.

Craven said Vavi was concerned “but not intimidated”.

As far as Cosatu was concerned, he was speaking for the almost two

million members of the union federation and so could not be charged


Craven said ANC disciplinary steps against Vavi would imply any

member of Cosatu or the SA Communist Party, who joined the ANC, would have to

disown his original organisation and accept only the discipline of the


This would mean such individuals would not be able to comment on

behalf of the members who elected them to the SACP or Cosatu.

“No leader of Cosatu can or will ever be disciplined by another

organisation for doing the federation’s work on behalf of its two million

members,” said Craven.

“Our suspicion is that this decision was pushed through by

representatives of a tendency within the ANC leadership who are hell-bent on

their agenda of self-enrichment and crass materialism.”

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) expressed shock

at “the so-called charges” against Vavi.

“We continue to witness the degeneration of the progressive body

politic, which is increasingly being replaced by the modern-day gold rush,”

Denosa said a statement.

“This self servicing tendency is solely aimed at purging and in the

process clears the way to capture power and therefore control of resources for

self-enrichment in the next ANC elective conference.”

Denosa said the attack on Vavi amounted to an attack on


“We challenge those who want to charge the general secretary to

charge us as well.”

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