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ANC does damage control for alliance

The ANC has warned its alliance partners to be more cautious of what they say in public.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The ANC has warned its alliance partners to be more cautious about what they say in public as their utterances could further deepen divisions in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

The trade union federation has been plagued by problems, fuelling tensions between leaders and some factions.

Among these problems, is the union's decision to suspend General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi was removed from his post in August after admitting to having sex with a younger Cosatu employee who initially accused him of rape.

He was also accused of hiring the woman through improper procedures.

A number of unions have thrown their support behind Vavi, calling for a special Cosatu congress to be held which will let members decide on his future.

While Vavi's opponents have expressed support for the trade union's decision to suspend him.

Earlier this month, the ANC announced the establishment of a task team to engage with Cosatu to help it find a lasting solution to its divisions.

The task team is being led by ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the ruling party has a responsibility to restore unity within the trade union federation.

"The ANC's task team will not undermine the work of Cosatu's founding leaders and will seek to complement their work instead. There was agreement that the ANC would not shy away from explaining principles on any matter."

Meanwhile, the South African Communist Party (SACP)'s KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Secretary Themba Mthembu has said people who want to leave Cosatu must do so and not interfere with those who want to stay.

"There are people who want to break away from Cosatu, and we are saying as a party, if they want to go, let them go. But they must leave their members behind."

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