Cosatu unity hopes dashed
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.