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ANC appoints task team for Cosatu

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the team looking into Cosatu’s leadership crisis.

Businessman and ANC NEC chairman Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead a task team to engage with the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) to help it find a lasting solution to its divisions.

This was revealed by the ANC on Tuesday.

In August, Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was placed on special leave for having a sexual relationship with a younger employee from the federation.

He is also accused of hiring her improperly.

Vavi also faces disciplinary charges.

The ANC task team has been asked to speak to Cosatu leaders and to offer whatever help they can.

The list of names on the team shows how worried Luthuli House is about Cosatu's problems.

It includes ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantshe, Chairperson Baleka Mbete, Treasurer Zweli Mkhize and Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.

The ANC's Jackson Mthembu says they have to act because of Cosatu's role in making South Africa a democracy.

"We cannot, as the ANC, just fold our hands as Cosatu is faced with difficulties of whatever nature."

"What will our kids say if we were to be spectators and we just look and fold our hands as Cosatu implodes and splits?"

Normally, alliance members wouldn't intervene.

This might show the extent to which the ANC believes Cosatu is running the risk of damaging itself beyond repair.

VAVI SPEAKS OUT

At the same time, Vavi says the federation has been paralysed with divisions but this should not stop it from pushing forward with its work.

He was speaking at the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa)'s political school gathering in Benoni.

Vavi says even though he is suspended, his loyalty still lies with Cosatu.

He became somewhat emotional, saying it could bring him to tears thinking about all the work that's been stopped because of divisions in Cosatu.

Numsa officials once again backed him, reminding everyone that they want Vavi to be reinstated and want a special congress to happen soon to get him back to work.

Vavi says it worries him that Cosatu is on shaky ground, but believes it can still remain independent and continue fighting for workers.

He says his detractors won't stop him, saying he remains a class-conscious cadre and that the federation should not lose sight of what it needs to do.

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