Cosatu head: Wake up, we’re under attack

Sidumo Dlamini has hit out at those he says are trying to destroy Cosatu and Numsa.

FILE: Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini. Picture: Sapa.

BRAAMFONTEIN - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President Sidumo Dlamini says the trade union federation is under attack and warns those who are so desperate to leave to get on with it.

He says there's no space in Cosatu for negativity or the constant push for splits and factions.

Dlamini was speaking at South African Transport and Allied Workers Union's Central Executive Committee meeting in Braamfontein on Wednesday afternoon.

He says all affiliates of the trade union federation need to work together to defend it, or else leave.

"If you have the desire to leave Cosatu while wasting time inside trying to contribute negatively into our internal debates - yet you have taken a decision you are going - it doesn't work that way.

"Anybody who takes a public platform and says there is a need for an overhaul in the Central Executive Committee of Cosatu is lying - you're misleading the public."

He says the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is enduring the same problem.

"Comrades, wake up! There is a programme aiming to dislodge us involving very, very important people in South Africa. Numsa is under attack from outside and from inside. It is under attack just like Cosatu as a whole."

Two days ago, Numsa President Cedric Gina tendered his resignation, citing his belief that the union was taking the wrong direction.

It's believed his departure follows disagreements between him and firebrand General Secretary Irvin Jim over their future in the tripartite alliance under Cosatu.

Jim has threatened the ANC with a withdrawal of support due to e-tolling and the National Development Plan.

Gina believes Jim also wants Numsa to abandon Cosatu itself, something Jim himself has hinted at.

Jim hit out at Gina over his resignation, calling it a political ploy.


Also speaking at the meeting on Wednesday, ANC General Secretary Gwede Mantashe urged the Cosatu leadership to ease its apparent attack on the federation's own General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi was placed on special leave by Cosatu after he admitted to an affair with a younger employee.

Mantashe spoke directly to Dlamini and the federation about the scandal, which has seen its affiliates divided on who they support on the matter.

"You can pursue Vavi if you want to. But if the price you must pay for pursuing Vavi is to split Cosatu, it's not worth the price."

Dlamini says his decision not to hold a special congress on the matter, which was called for by nine affiliates which want to reinstate Vavi, should not be questioned.

The congress was seen as a rare lifeline for suspended the suspended General Secretary.