S'dumo Dlamini: Cosatu has proved its critics wrong

Dlamini has lauded Cosatu for the manner in which constructive debate between affiliates was handled.

Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini. Picture: Cosatu/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG - Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini has said the federation has proved its critics wrong by having a constructive debate between all affiliates without any violence erupting at its special national congress, underway in Midrand.

The congress has been marred by controversy, with some delegates refusing to accept the credentials and agenda, eventually leading to a vote after 10 hours of discussions.

There was a heightened security presence at the congress on Monday, amid threats of disruptions, but the congress was able to conclude without any major incidents.

Dlamini said Cosatu emerged victorious after a day of tense discussion between affiliates.

"There was no blood on the floor. It was delegates engaging and trying to reach toward one another. The winner was Cosatu, all of us, those who were voting no and those who were voting yes."

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Despite facing opposition from the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) Dlamini applauded the union's president for remaining in the plenary despite a walkout by his members.

"I was told the president of Fawu is still here. We are building our Cosatu. Affiliates of Cosatu are here."

The Tripartite Alliance partners are expected to address the workers today, but it's unclear whether the congress will be able to discuss all the proposed issues before it adjourns tonight.

Dlamini and his supporters may be patting themselves on the back this morning, they've won the first round and could claim that the show of hands on Monday night means they do have the overwhelming support of most Cosatu members.

But this morning, they may have to count the cost.

Tempers on both sides are clearly fraying and it seems impossible to claim publicly now that Cosatu is a unified federation.

They also have to manage the situation in which there will now be conflict in some unions, between members and leaders who clearly disagree on crucial issues.