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Dlamini warns Cosatu members

The federation’s president says there are several things that could destabilise unity attempts.

Cosatu's Johannesburg headquarters. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is at a crossroads and must now choose between life and death, President Sidumo Dlamini said on Friday.

This as the trade union federation grapples with internal divisions.

Cosatu agreed to a 30-day intervention by the ruling party, which will see meetings with rival factions in a bid to iron out differences.

Dlamini made the comments at the National Union of Mineworkers (Num) shop stewards' council in Boksburg on Gauteng's East Rand.

He said the ANC will help Cosatu end the bitter feud between the majority of the national office bearers and reinstated general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

The Cosatu president is well aware of the extent of division within the federation.

He said all affiliates have welcomed the ANC's intervention and cautioned it should not be criticised.

Dlamini said there are several things that could destabilise the attempt.

"Poaching of each other's members is one of those things that will destabilise this intervention. De-campaigning the ANC is another one."

The terms of the intervention include calling on unions not to make negative public statements about Cosatu or the ANC.

Earlier on Friday, ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ruling party asked the federation for an opportunity to play a more active role in resolving divisions.

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

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

"This has to be a homegrown solution."

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

Vavi on Thursday said the divisions within the federation had been caused by rival factions fighting for control of assets.

Last week Friday, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled that Vavi's 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.