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COSATU Today  |  COSATU Press Statements

COSATU rejects Mail & Guardian`s allegations

7 December 2010

The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly condemns the article in the Mail & Guardian on 2 December 2010 "Face-off in alliance" - which is so full of false statements that it can only be described as a work of fiction.

COSATU`s decision to appeal to the SACP to reconsider its decision to deploy its national and provincial leaders to government was taken at a meeting of the Central Executive Committee on 23-25 August 2010.

The minutes of that meeting, endorsed by the CEC meeting on 22-24 November 2010, were clear: "COSATU CEC prefers that the General Secretary of the SACP must, together with all provincial secretaries, resign from the legislatures to lead the party full time."

The November CEC merely reaffirmed that position, saying that "In the past the CEC has expressed the view that the SACP General Secretary must return to SACP Head Quarters and lead the party on the full time basis so that it can confront the challenges facing the working class. The CEC reiterated that view. This is a plea not a command!"

To say that "there was no decision to urge Nzimande to return to the SACP" is a travesty of the facts. Although the statement did not mention him by name its meaning was crystal clear. This was a collective, mandated position and was expressed by the General Secretary in a statement drawn up and approved by all the national office bearers.

The National Union of Mineworkers, whose General Secretary is one of those misquoted as denying that there was any such decision has flatly rejected this. "The statement that there has been no decision to urge Nzimande to return to the SACP as contained in the report is totally out of line and a gross misrepresentation of the views of the NUM General Secretary.

"The NUM calls on the Mail and Guardian to be more circumspect in its reporting. The NUM is part of the COSATU leadership collective and any decision taken by the collective is a decision of the federation which includes the NUM."

COSATU utterly rejects the article`s accusation, based on claims from anonymous "Cosatu insiders" that "Vavi`s public call to Nzimande was a strategic move to position himself to take Nzimande`s position," or, quoting another "Cosatu official and SACP member", that "he obviously raised the matter to win support from union members to push him to take over from Nzimande."

This article is a perfect example of what the COSATU CEC statement referred to, when it said that "the media, with the help of some faceless persons within the affiliates, launched a COSATU succession debate and named possible candidates. The union officials behind this debate for their own reasons sought to profile and rubbish their preferred candidates and those they did not prefer.

"This forced the May 2010 CEC to announce that there is no succession debate in the federation until the right time. This has however not stopped some in the media from continuing to conduct this debate."

COSATU demands that the Mail & Guardian publish a retraction and apology for their distortions and misrepresentations.

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets

P.O. Box 1019

Tel: +27 11 339-4911/24
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E-Mail: patrick@cosatu.org.za