Cosatu con­venes cru­cial meet­ing on ANC suc­ces­sion

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Worldwide -

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

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