Zuma: Cosatu needs to remain united

The president addressed a Cosatu Workers Day rally in Polokwane yesterday.

Thousands of people at the Peter Mokaba Stadium ahead of Cosatu’s Worker’s Day rally on 1 May 2014. Picture: Lesego Ngobeni/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma said only a unified Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) can safeguard and champion workers' rights.

Zuma addressed a Cosatu Workers Day rally in Polokwane yesterday which was attended by thousands of people.

He spoke extensively about the history of May Day while also highlighting government's successes over the past 20 years.

Zuma also appeared to take a swipe at Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi without mentioning him by name, saying the union should cut ties with those who want to destabilise it.

"Only a strong and united Cosatu can unite workers and close ranks for any tendency which seeks to divide workers and encourage action in contempt of democratic institutions."

Vavi was placed on special leave last year for having an extramarital affair with a younger employee at work.

In March, the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg ruled Vavi's suspension was illegal and unlawful.

On his return to Cosatu House, he said divisions within the federation were caused by rival factions fighting for control of assets.