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COSATU’s response to attack made by Mduduzi Manana
13 December 2012
The Congress of South African Trade Unions strongly rejects the outrageous and totally baseless attack on COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Mduduzi Manana, in comments made to a reporter at The New Age.
He told the New Age reporter that “The General-Secretary of COSATU has become a problem child within the alliance and the 53rd National Conference has got to express itself around Vavi`s counter-revolutionary behaviour. Alliance partners must remain critical to each other but not counter-revolutionary. His behaviour and actions all lead to the conclusion that Vavi has clear intents to establish his own political party using "anti-corruption" as a bandwagon.
“Yesterday,” he went on, “the media sang praises to Vavi for calling on all government officials not to do business with the state when, in fact, it was the SACP that first made the call two years ago. This so-called `research study` [referring to the FPD Shop Stewards’ Research Study] by COSATU is a brain-child of Vavi which was commissioned and designed to legitimize his exit from the congress movement. I call upon all leaders of the different unions that are affiliated to COSATU and all workers of our country to unite and defend the tripartite alliance.”
There is not a shred of truth in any of this, and if the deputy minister really believes what he is saying it reflects a disturbing state of paranoia.
The battle against corruption is being waged not just by Zwelinzima Vavi, or by COSATU but by the ANC, government, business and civil society. It is a top priority for the whole nation.
The National Anti-Corruption Forum, of which Zwelinzima Vavi has just been elected as Chairperson, is, in its own words, “comprised of three sectors, namely civil society, business and government. Each sector is represented by ten members nominated by their respective constituencies”. So how can it possibly be a “bandwagon” for any individual?
Similarly CorruptionWatch, although initiated by COSATU, is an independent body which will investigate all allegations, regardless of who is being accused, and will not hesitate to accuse union leaders if there is evidence against them.
The Deputy Minister continues by saying: “Vavi made a call few days ago saying that COSATU will not support a list that does not include Deputy President Motlanthe but he does not make any reference to a list that excludes President Zuma, yet he claims that his call is intended to build unity and cohesion beyond the centenary conference. Vavi must lead workers and stop being a political commentator and a self-appointed critic of government. He must not insult the leaders who founded this alliance all in the name of ambition and populism.”
The reality is that the decision to support the re-election of the incumbent President, Deputy President and Secretary-General of the ANC was taken by a unanimous decision of the Central Executive Committee, and Comrade Vavi’s comments have been completely consistent with that policy position.
The comment the General Secretary made warning against the danger to unity of the move by other provinces to exclude the Deputy President is not a personal view but a fully mandated position. This statement was made in response to provinces that had announced their nominations excluding the Deputy President. At that time no other province had announced the exclusion of the President.
The comments about the General Secretary planning to “exit” from COSATU and form “his own political party” is a pure fantasy, which exists only in the Deputy Minister’s head. He was elected unopposed to as General Secretary in September 2012 and enjoys the full support of all COSATU’s over two million members.
Comrade Mduduzi Manana’s comments, if correctly reported, can only be seen as a crude attempt to delegitimize the COSATU leader and create divisions within the federation and the alliance. If so, it will fail ignominiously. COSATU has never been more united, from the shop floor up to its national leadership and this unity will never to broken!
Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 or Direct: +27 10 219-1339
Mobile: +27 82 821 7456