Nzimande told delegates at the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) central executive committee meeting, which ends today in Ekurhuleni, there was an attempt to mislead workers in the country.
“Some of the people … do not know [what] it takes to build a federation,” Nzimande said.
Nzimande spoke out against the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), albeit without mentioning it by name, saying: “You cannot be a union, a political party and a united front, all at the same time.
“If you cannot stomach us, tell us so we can bid farewell to you properly.”
He said attempts to drive union federation Cosatu out of the congress movement were short-sighted and dangerous.
“They post the most immediate threat to the interest of the working class,” Nzimande said.
“We need to defeat all attempts to try to separate Cosatu from the congress movement.
“It is Cosatu that is part of our revolutionary movement that will be best placed to lead the struggles of organised workers.”
Numsa has called on Cosatu to break away from the tripartite alliance.
Nzimande also lashed out at Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema and his camarilla for wearing red overalls, domestic worker uniforms and gumboots in Parliament.
“One thing EFF does not get is that Karl Marx (German philosopher, economist, sociologist and revolutionary socialist) said when workers leave work, the first thing they want off are their overalls.
“Those overalls and gumboots symbolise exploitation.”
Meanwhile, Malema has vowed that his party will fight for the right to wear overalls, domestic worker uniforms and gumboots in Parliament and legislatures.
Nzimande blamed former President Thabo Mbeki’s Growth, Employment and Redistribution economic policy for the current economic crisis.