Having been re-elected without opposition this week, the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ (Cosatu’s) leaders advised the African National Congress (ANC) to avoid divisions in the build-up to the Mangaung congress.
Sections of Cosatu have been critical of President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, but they left singing a different tune when the labour federation wrapped up its elective congress in Midrand yesterday.
Cosatu’s unity calls will boost the campaign to avoid a leadership challenge in Mangaung by re-electing Mr Zuma.
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Speaking to journalists yesterday, general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said the ANC could learn from Cosatu’s elective gathering, which had agreed on union leadership choice but still maintained robust debates on politics and policy.
Mr Vavi said while the ANC needed to be nudged to be more decisive in fighting poverty and protecting workers, there was a risk of the ruling party being captured by tenderpreneurs in Mangaung.
The Cosatu congress hastily deferred ANC leadership discussions to a central executive committee meeting, to be held next month.
The federation forms part of the ruling alliance with the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) and was set to discuss whether to pronounce on ANC leadership and whether to endorse Mr Zuma for a second term.
Cosatu promised a "Lula moment" of decisive leaders and a new approach to tackle poverty, unemployment and inequality, but few decisions were taken which provide testament to such a shift.
The congress deferred the discussion on leadership to a special meeting of its top brass at the central executive committee, despite many affiliates pushing for the talks to take place at the congress — and in full view of the media.
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