ANC wants to heal Cosatu divisions

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa is facilitating the resolution of divisions plaguing the federation.

ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says the ruling party has asked the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) for an opportunity to play a more active role in resolving divisions plaguing the federation.

Ramaphosa is addressing the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) shop stewards' council in Boksburg on the East Rand in Johannesburg, having negotiated a ceasefire between rival Cosatu factions at a special Central Executive Committee meeting earlier this week.

Ramaphosa told delegates the ANC would meet with all Cosatu affiliates in a bid to find a permanent solution to bring about unity.

He said an ANC task team was dispatched to Cosatu House to broker a month-long ceasefire and begin the process of rebuilding unity in the federation.

"Cosatu must give the ANC the opportunity to play a more active facilitating role."

But he insisted the solution must be developed by Cosatu leaders and not the ANC.

"The ANC comrades won't be seeking to impose a solution on Cosatu or indeed on the unions. This has to be a homegrown solution."

He said unions agreed that negative public statements about Cosatu affiliates should not be tolerated during the ceasefire and consequences must be imposed.

"We should have the courage to deal with those comrades and where a withdrawal is warranted, we should get those comrades to withdraw their statements."

Ramaphosa said they would now interact with all the leaders of Cosatu's unions in a bid to iron out differences that led to the divisions.

Yesterday, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the divisions within the federation had been caused by rival factions fighting for control of assets.

Vavi returned to his post earlier 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.

He was placed on special leave last year after admitting to having consensual sex with a junior employee at work.

Meanwhile, as the national elections draw nearer, National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa General Secretary Irvin Jim called on Vavi to accept that the ANC was no longer a representative of workers.

Jim said the time had come for the working class to form its own organisation, to contest the ANC in the 2019 general elections.

"We all love the ANC a lot but I think the time has come for the working class to organise itself as a class for itself."