Cosatu’s big jol to cost mil­lions

Free trains, 500 buses to trans­port peo­ple to the ‘mother of all par­ties’

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - CARIEN DU PLESSIS

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.

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