Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini has denied bowing to pressure from union affiliates to hold a special congress.
Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini has denied bowing to pressure from union affiliates to hold a special national congress.
"There was no reason for any bowing, nor acceding on a [Cosatu] constitutional matter," the Congress of South African Trade Unions leader told reporters in Johannesburg on Friday.
"We have a request, and I am acting on that request. A decision about the congress will be made at the appropriate time."
Dlamini was reacting to reports that he agreed to call a congress after a call for one by nine of its 19 affiliates. This emerged in a letter Dlamini sent affiliates and provincial structures this week, and which was leaked to the media.
Dlamini shared the letter with journalists on Friday "to settle any doubts in the public about the matter". The letter read: "I want to emphasise my commitment to respect and uphold the Cosatu constitution at all times ... I understand the mandate that I was given ... and I am committed to convene the special national congress as directed to do so."
Dlamini said in the letter that available resources, possible venues, dates and the agenda of the conference were still being assessed. "As you may be aware, the unions that have requested a special national congress have advanced different reasons for their requests, and in the circumstances, a process must be undertaken to assess whether the relevant unions and other unions can reach agreement on a common agenda for the congress."
In August, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was placed on special leave after having an affair with a junior employee.
Nothing to do with Vavi
In September, Dlamini said Vavi did not feature among the reasons given by member unions for the special congress.
"Eight or nine of Cosatu's affiliates have made a request for a special congress. I can say to you without a doubt, that ... there is no affiliate that has stated the reason for the congress to be about the general secretary of Cosatu," he said at the time.
Dlamini said in the letter he was communicating with Cosatu's national treasurer Freda Oosthuysen to determine the available resources for the congress.
"I want to stress and assure all ... I have no intention or interest to delay convening a special national congress," he wrote.
"I have seen the media reports that have accused me of being reluctant to carry out this task.
"I have decided not to respond to anonymous allegations and sources in line with the decisions of the previous central executive committee [meeting]."
He told reporters on Friday that Cosatu did not have the budget for special congress because it was not prepared for it.
"We have to ensure that there will be resources. In the current coffers of the federation we do not have R12-million we may need for a special congress," he said. – Sapa