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'Cosatu divisions caused by rival factions'

Zwelinzima Vavi says SA's political and labour organisations have been plagued by divisions.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the divisions within the federation have been caused by rival factions fighting for control of assets.

Vavi returned to his post this week following an eight-month suspension after the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday ruled that his suspension was illegal and unlawful.

Vavi was placed on special leave last yea r after admitting to having consensual sex with a junior employee at work.

He told the Daily Maverick's annual gathering of society leaders in Johannesburg that the divisions were also being caused by different interpretations of how much had been achieved since the introduction of democracy in South Africa.

Vavi said South Africa's political and labour organisations had been plagued by divisions that were tearing them apart.

"Most of the divisions and strife in our organisations are caused by attempts by various factions to push each other away from the dinner table."

He said it was these divisions that led to the establishment of new parties, although some of the internal Cosatu debates were the result of misinterpretation.

"Some of the divisions are caused by our different reading of the 20 years of this democratic breakthrough."

Vavi told the audience he stood by Cosatu's decision to support the ANC during this year's elections, but had not ruled out joining a labour party planned by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa for 2019.

VAVI WARNS COSATU, ANC

Vavi earlier issued a warning to ANC and federation members about the culture of individualism.

He urged the public to speak out against individualism, even when they're threatened.

"We must never be threatened into silence when we see the triumph of individualism and selfishness among the leadership and membership of our formations."

Vavi also said individualism cannot be allowed to overshadow the organisation.

"It is time to reinstate the centrality of the organisation and not the centrality of individuals."

Meanwhile, Cosatu on Wednesday said all of its affiliates and structures had agreed to stop attacking each other while an ANC facilitation process was carried out.

This after ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday asked union leaders to agree to what he called a "ceasefire" during the trade union federation's Central Executive Committee meeting.

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