Cosatu convenes crucial meeting on ANC succession
JOHANNESBURG — Cosatu is holding what is seen as a crucial central executive committee (CEC) meeting where it is expected to take a decision on where it stands on the ANC’s succession debate.
“There are no two ways about it, we have to take a view on the succession debate, after [it] was deferred to this CEC. The last CEC asked affiliates to go and consult,” an affiliate leader who did not want to be named told News24.
The CEC started yesterday and continues until tomorrow.
Two unions, the largest affiliate the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have already come out publicly calling for President Jacob Zuma to step down, and others, including Police and Prisons Right Civil Union (Popcru) and the South African Democratic Teachers Union, are expected to follow.
Nehawu and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) have backed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over the reins.
The debate has been raging in Cosatu for some time now, amid fractured relations between the trade union federation and its alliance partner, the ANC.
Earlier this month, the federation released a strongly worded statement calling on the “arrogant” ANC to stop treating them with “disdain”.
“Cosatu is concerned that its ally, the ANC, is starting to treat the support of the workers with disdain and takes the loyalty of the federation for granted,” the statement read.
Affiliates have been calling for a hardened approach to the ANC, frustrated that the governing party has not delivered on key worker demands including the banning of labour brokers, the scrapping of e-tolls, the slow progress in implementing the national health insurance scheme and a comprehensive social security plan. Some affiliate leaders have accused Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, seen as a staunch ally of Zuma, of stalling the ANC succession debate.
Another affiliate leader told News24 that this week’s meeting might be about how the federation manages the succession debate and whether Cosatu will publicly pronounce that it supports Ramaphosa.
The Tripartite Alliance council meeting held at Luthuli house earlier this month failed to assure Cosatu leaders. Instead, they were blamed for the dismal performance of the ANC in the local government elections.
CWU wants the marriage between alliance partners ANC, SACP and Cosatu to be reconfigured and Cosatu to be cautious this time around when backing a candidate.
“We’ve been told that the alliance was never written, this time it must be written so that there are clear terms of reference and guidelines,” president Clyde Mervin told journalists at a media briefing last week.
The CWU said it was going to the central executive committee seeking to get support in this regard because it wants to spell out the goals and roles of the members of the alliance.
“It cannot be open-handed anymore, it must be written down so that the working class can be protected in the process.”
The union said its members were now taking part in the ANC succession debate but its leaders had already concluded that Zuma’s time was up.
Ramaphosa is expected to get support at least from the largest affiliates, but others want assurances that he will deliver on their key demands.
CWU said it would only favour a candidate who “put the workers’ rights first”.
Ramaphosa is currently leading talks around the minimum wage.
Cosatu was instrumental in Zuma winning the 2007 and 2012 elective conferences.
Last year it expelled Numsa and general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi which was its largest affiliate for its 2013 conference resolution not to endorse the ANC in the 2014 election. — Sapa THE Catholic Church in Rwanda has apologised for its role in the 1994 genocide, saying it regrets the actions of those who participated in the massacres.
A church statement acknowledged on Sunday that its members planned, aided and executed the genocide, in which more than 800 000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed by Hutu hardliners.
“We apologise for all the wrongs the church committed. We apologise on behalf of all Christians for all forms of wrongs we committed. We regret that church members violated [their] oath of allegiance to God’s commandments,” said the statement by the Conference of Catholic Bishops, which was read out in parishes across the country.
Many of the victims died at the hands of priests, clergymen and nuns, according to accounts by survivors, and the Rwandan government said many died in the churches where they had sought refuge.
In the years since the genocide — which was sparked by a contentious plane crash that killed the thenpresident, a Hutu — the local church had resisted efforts by the government and groups of survivors to acknowledge the church’s complicity in mass murder, saying those church officials who committed crimes acted individually.
The bishops’ statement is seen as a positive development in Rwanda’s efforts at reconciliation.
“Forgive us for the crime of hate in the country to the extent of also hating our colleagues because of their ethnicity. We didn’t show that we are one family, but instead killed each other,” the statement said.
Bishop Phillipe Rukamba, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Rwanda, said the statement was timed to coincide with the formal end on Sunday of the Holy Year of Mercy declared by Pope Francis to encourage greater reconciliation and forgiveness in his church and in the world.
Tom Ndahiro, a Rwandan genocide researcher, said that he hoped the church’s statement would encourage unity among Rwandans.
“I am also happy to learn that in their statement, bishops apologise for not having been able to avert the genocide,” he said. — AFP
Rival militias clash after a pet monkey pulled off girl’s headscarf igniting days of tribal fighting in the south, killing at least 16 people. — Al Jazeera