Cosatu unity hopes dashed

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - AMY MUS­GRAVE

ANY HOPE of a po­lit­i­cal process get­ting off the ground soon to help unify Cosatu has been dashed, with nearly half of its af­fil­i­ates an­nounc­ing yes­ter­day that their boy­cott of the fed­er­a­tion re­mains in place.

The Na­tional Union of Me­tal­work­ers of SA (Numsa) and its al­lies told re­porters that they would not take part in dis­cus­sions be­ing punted by Cosatu un­til Numsa’s ex­pul­sion was lifted un­con­di­tion­ally.

“We are of the firm con­vic­tion that there can be no Cosatu with­out Numsa and no unity in Cosatu with­out Numsa. All af­fil­i­ates, there­fore, unan­i­mously agreed that Numsa must be un­con­di­tion­ally re­in­stated by the Cosatu cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee (CEC),” Food and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Fawu) deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary Moleko Phakedi said.

Last week, Cosatu said it would em­bark on a po­lit­i­cal process with the ANC to help bring about unity in the fed­er­a­tion. The process, which is meant to in­clude in­for­mal talks with Cosatu’s 18 af­fil­i­ates and Numsa, will in­clude a num­ber of is­sues.

Pos­si­ble sanc­tion of Cosatu gen­eral sec­re­tary Zwelinz­ima Vavi over nine charges he is fac­ing and when to hold a spe­cial na­tional congress, which could lead to the elec­tion of new Cosatu lead­ers, are items on the agenda.

But, Numsa, eight af­fil­i­ates, and groups from two other unions do not want to wait un­til a spe­cial congress to vote for new lead­ers.

They told re­porters in Joburg they wanted to see the back of Cosatu pres­i­dent S’dumo Dlamini im­me­di­ately.

“We are of the firm view that the Cosatu pres­i­dent to­gether with some of his na­tional of­fice­bear­ers acted on be­half of their fac­tion to the detri­ment of the unity of the fed­er­a­tion.

“We are of the firm view that the Cosatu pres­i­dent, as head of the fed­er­a­tion, must re­sign with im­me­di­ate ef­fect, be­cause he no longer en­joys the con­fi­dence of work­ers in the pri­vate sec­tor of the South African econ­omy and the pub­lic sec­tor,” the group said in a state­ment.

But, Dlamini is not likely to go any­where as he still has the support of the majority in Cosatu’s ex­ec­u­tive.

Numsa’s al­lies with­drew their par­tic­i­pa­tion from the ex­ec­u­tive after the union was ex­pelled by the CEC ear­lier this month.

They de­cided at var­i­ous na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee meet­ings at the week­end, that they would de­mand that the spe­cial na­tional congress be held by March at the lat­est.

More than a third of Cosatu’s af­fil­i­ates called for the ex­tra­or­di­nary meet­ing over a year ago. Dlamini fi­nally gave the go-ahead ear­lier this month, after Numsa was ex­pelled. Many unions say the congress is the only way to unify Cosatu, but Numsa be­lieves Cosatu has be­come the labour desk of the ANC.

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