Cosatu puts lid on Manguang debate

Cosatu’s national congress on Thursday resolved not to open up discussions around who should lead the ANC.

Cosatu delegates attend the trade union federation's 11th national congress at Gallagher Estate in Midrand on Monday, 17 September 2012. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Cosatu's national congress on Thursday resolved not to open up discussions around who should lead the ANC after its elective conference in Mangaung over December.

Earlier in the day, several unions asked the federation to reopen the debate before the close of the gathering.

The National Union of Metalworkers in South Africa (Numsa) led the charge, along with National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) and Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU).

But Cosatu leaders wanted to avoid the debate, fearing it would show the divisions within the organisation.

Unions were unhappy when Cosatu leaders decided the debate on Manguang should go to the Central Executive Committee (CEC).

Many unions felt they were not properly consulted.

"It should be the congress itself [that decides] and the CEC should make the pronouncement on our behalf," a FAWU member said.

Members said the CEC must thrash out the matter as soon as possible.

Numsa president Cedric Gcina said, "We have lived with the CEC's decision up to now. But now, as a union, we are saying that decision needs to be reviewed.

He said the CEC should not rely on "corridor influence".

Delegates also called on the ANC to focus on workers and on radical economic change.

Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said, "In the context of events in the mining industry and the growing service delivery protests, we must now talk about exploding [time] bomb."

He also said National Treasury must be urgently realigned, the Reserve Bank's mandate must be changed and there must be radical economic change.

He added Cosatu must now shift its focus back to helping workers.