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Netshitenze: Factionalism within Cosatu undermines voice of workers

Joel Netshitenze says to lose the largest union like Cosatu due to factionalism has undermined the voice of workers.

Cosatu protesters demonstrate against the DA march. Picture: Jacob Moshokoa/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Umkhonto we Sizwe veteran Joel Netshitenze said the factionalism within Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is a tragedy for the left in South Africa and undermines the voice of workers.

Netshitenze was speaking at the MK veteran’s national council in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg on Saturday.

He says those who blame imperial powers for interfering in the country’s affairs have to take responsibility for providing these outside forces with the opportunity to take advantage.

“It is a tragedy what is happening in Cosatu. You know to lose the largest union, to have factionalism that undermines the voice of workers.”

MK veteran Siphiwe Nyanda said many have lost hope in the movement.

“Many even in our own ranks have begun to write its obituary and this is painful and sad.”

ANC DIVISIONS HURTING THE PARTY

Netshitenze said the African National Congress (ANC) needs to ask itself whether the divisions within the party are not the reason why it makes it easy to attack the movement.

The MK veteran said voters showed the ruling party during this year’s August Local Elections that if it does not address its weaknesses, it will be punished further in 2019.

He said unity in the ruling party must be restored.

“And we need to ask ourselves a question, especially as the ANC, is it not our divisions that make these incursions possible?”

He said opportunists will take advantage if the ANC gives them the platform.

“Within South Africa itself, you can stand on top of roof tops and talk about imperialism and regime change, but if you yourself create opportunity for the opportunists, they will take advantage.”

UP TO ANC TO FIX ITSELF

Meanwhile, Nyanda said it is up to the ANC to arrest the decline of the movement before the 2019 elections or risk being punished at the polls.

Earlier, military veterans’ association leader Kebby Maphatsoe and Des van Rooyen asked members not to participate in the gathering as it does not fall within the structures of the ANC.

President Jacob Zuma, who is also an MK veteran, had given his blessing to the council but was not present due to prior commitments in KwaZulu-Natal.

Nyanda said they will not let the movement die without a fight.

“And those who pursue a path that will lead us to ruins, if they do, the ANC will surely die. But let it not be said that the ANC died without us trying to help.”

Netshitenze agreed.

“If you do not correct these weaknesses that are there in the ANC, wait for 2019 and we’ll punish you even more.”

The two Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans urged delegates to ask critical questions about the state of the ANC, which they say may be dying a slow painful death.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)