Cosatu delegates warned against 'corrupt money'

Cosatu says it has evidence of western countries paying detractors to ensure its destruction.

FILE: Centre stage at the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (Cosatu) National Congress in Midrand. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President Sdumo Dlamini has warned delegates at the federation's congress that before the African National Congress (ANC) succession debate starts, they first need to find a way to stop the use of money to corrupt their organisations as this threatens its very existence.

Dlamini delivered the opening address on the first day of Cosatu's Congress, underway in Midrand, on Monday and says money has the potential to destroy unions and political parties alike.

He also says they have evidence of western countries supplying money to Cosatu detractors to ensure it's destroyed.

Dlamini says the exploitation of workers through money is one of the most serious threats to Cosatu and the ANC-led alliance.

"Even trade unions will be destroyed by money. Why do you subject yourself to such a degrading, inhumane condition of being bought by money?"

He says workers must save themselves from being used as pawns in a wider power battle in the movement.

"Last time I said, free yourself. Today I say, save yourself from being in the pocket of somebody that doesn't like you but wants to use you with the money they have.

Dlamini has also denied that Cosatu does not have any money, saying they still retain the support of faithful sponsors who won't allow the federation to die.

WATCH: Cosatu's divisions have been apparent from the start of the congress, with rival factions clashing over credentials and the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa.

COSATU 'PULLED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT'

Dlamini says the trade union federation has been pulled from left to right and has only survived because members resisted offers to be lured away by The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and leave their unions divided.

The Cosatu president has also reached out to the Federation of Unions of South African (Fedusa) and the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu), thanking them for not siding with Numsa during what he says is Cosatu's fight for survival.

Dlamini on Monday once again lamented Numsa for trying to divide Cosatu.

He's thanked delegates for resisting large amounts of money to leave Cosatu and divide their unions.

"We know that you have refused when people were recruiting you to divide your own unions from within. We know you refused when people were saying let's form a new federation alternate to Cosatu."

With the admittance of the Liberated Metalworkers Union of South Africa (Limusa) as Cosatu's new metalworkers union, the federation has 18 affiliates and Dlamini claims they still have close to two million members.

TAKING ON CAPITALISTS

President Jacob Zuma says the capitalist class are able to have a dictatorship over workers because they can set the price of bread and oil.

Zuma speaking at Cosatu's congress on Monday.

The president simply asked, who decides how much bread costs?

"Is there any meeting that sits and says, now it must cost so much? It is dictated to by the capitalist class.

They decide now that bread must be 20 cents… one day they decide it must be 25 cents - there is no meeting."

And it's not just bread.

"If the price of oil goes up, they decide to raise the price of petrol. There's no meeting."

Zuma says this serves the interests of only one class.

"Somebody must make a profit and therefore somebody decides."

He says this means workers must be united in taking on capitalists.