‘Leaders pulled Cosatu’s teeth’

FILE PICTURE: Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim speaks at a press conference of Cosatu's affiliated unions on Cosatu's special national congress on 29 January 2014 in Pretoria. Picture: Christine Vermooten

FILE PICTURE: Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim speaks at a press conference of Cosatu's affiliated unions on Cosatu's special national congress on 29 January 2014 in Pretoria. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The ongoing infighting within trade union federation Cosatu claimed two more victims yesterday.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana and National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) general secretary Fikile Majola have been accused of being at the forefront of the campaign to “neutralise” Cosatu and turn it into a “toothless giant”.

This startling accusation was made by nine Cosatu affiliates which support embattled general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi yesterday.

Sources allege Zokwana and Majola’s names are on the list of ANC candidates who would go to Parliament if the ANC wins this year’s general elections. Zokwana confirmed his nomination, saying it was in his personal capacity as an ANC member.

Majola declined to comment, saying: “I’m not in a position to respond precisely because it was a group of unions.”

He, however, said he will prepare a respond today.

The nine unions, representing more than 50% of the federation’s membership, include the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu), the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the SA Football Players Union, the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA, the Democratic Nurses Union of SA, the SA Commercial and Catering Workers Union, Communication Workers Union and the SA State and Allied Workers Union.

They held a media briefing in Irene, Pretoria to demand, among other things, that Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini call a special national congress by the end of March or face court action.

The unions also vowed to take drastic action unless charges against Vavi are dropped by the end of March.

Samwu general secretary Walter Theledi questioned the “unqualified” and “uncritical” endorsement of the ANC’s 2014 election manifesto by Cosatu leaders, without being consulted on the manifesto’s content.

He added that their members had never agreed to give the ANC a blank cheque to support it during elections.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the unions were merely exercising their right to call a special congress and that they had met the Constitutional test where such a congress could be called if a third of the affiliates wanted it.

“Vavi must be back in office. The workers want him back but we can all see there is a plot for that not to happen,”he said.

“If Vavi is dismissed we will then take appropriate action.”

 

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