Cosatu’s big jol to cost millions
Free trains, 500 buses to transport people to the ‘mother of all parties’
LABOUR federation Cosatu is set to splash out at least a couple of million rand on a mass rally in Joburg today to celebrate its 25th anniversary with what has been billed as “the mother of all birthday parties”, and which has been scheduled to last a whole day and a night.
Cosatu treasurer Freda Oosthuysen was cagey yesterday about revealing the exact cost of the celebrations, saying only that Weekend Argus’s figures were incorrect.
She did not want to disclose the correct figures, saying it was a “private” matter, and asked Weekend Argus to focus on something instead.
A source close to the federation’s finances said yesterday the cost for the event was estimated to top R4 million, but was later revised to R2m.
This included free trains and 500 buses transporting those attending the rally at the FNB Stadium, as well as refreshments and the set-up of a stage for perfor mers and speakers.
Cosatu, which claims two million signed-up members, was still scrambling yesterday to finalise its programme, but has promised “top speakers from government and Cosatu” and a free, “unmissable festival
“positive” featuring 18 of the finest South African artists, including Jonas Gwangwa, Letta Mbulu, Vusi Mahlasela, Rebecca Malope, DJ Cleo, Ntando and Ihashi Elimhlophe”.
The labour federation, uncharacteristically, held a gala dinner on Wednesday night – its real birth date – to raise funds for its celebration, with 10-seater tables selling at around R50 000 each, according to a source whose company sponsored a table.
The likes of African Rainbow Minerals, with businessman and party loyal Patrice Motsepe as chief executive, and Shanduka, with ANC national executive committee member Cyril Ramaphosa as chairman, all had tables with their names on at the venue.
By the standards of its alliance partner, the ANC, the dinner, which took up half a ballroom in Gallagher Estate with an estimated 50 tables, was modest – the sparkling wine was bottom-of-the-range JC le Roux, which retails for between R30 and R40 a bottle.
Meanwhile Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has taken steps to clear the air between the labour federation and the ruling ANC, but he has refused to moderate Cosatu’s stance on the issues which had caused friction in the first place.
Vavi used his address to the ANC’s local government summit in Midrand yesterday to assure the ANC that the labour federation would be “with you in the trenches in 2011 during the local gover nment elections”, and also in the 2014 general elections.
He repeated that Cosatu could not “give the ANC a blank cheque and will refuse to campaign (for) or support (ANC) candidates known to be corrupt or lazy”.
He praised the ANC for promising more rigorous screening processes.
Vavi also for the first time explained face-to-face to ANC leaders that Cosatu’s collabora- tion with civil society posed no threat to its alliance with the ANC.
Cosatu is set to launch its local government election campaign at its rally in the FNB Stadium today, while the ANC is set to reveal its elections manifesto in February next year. Vavi praised the ANC for its service delivery achievements in the past 16 years.
ANC leaders are set to mull over the party’s campaign and screening processes for candidates for next year’s elections during the closing session of its summit today. The summit could also emerge with suggestions to redraw certain provincial boundaries.