A Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) group will be kicked out of Zimbabwe if it went ahead with a planned visit to that country, the Zimbabwean labour minister said on Tuesday.
”We will kick them out, yes, certainly. We will not allow them to come into the country unless they follow the correct procedures,” said Labour Minister Paul Mangwana.
The 20-strong Cosatu delegation was to leave for Harare from Johannesburg International airport at 10.50am on Wednesday morning, the trade union federation said earlier on Tuesday.
The group is to be headed by secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi.
Mangwana said Cosatu should have approached him via his South African counterpart Membathisi Mdladlana about the visit — but had failed to do so.
Cosatu believed there was no legal reason for it to be thrown out of Zimbabwe, said Cosatu spokesperson Paul Notyhawa on Monday.
”We have valid passports and visas … we don’t know what other protocols we are supposed to have followed.”
In October last year, a Cosatu delegation to Zimbabwe was sent packing after spending only a few hours in that country.
They were hustled onto a bus in the middle of the night and deposited at Beit Bridge, the border post between the two countries.
On Monday, the African National Congress came out in support of the visit, while the government criticised the trade federation’s plans.
Minister of Labour Membathisi Mdladlana said on Monday that Cosatu’s proposed visit will undermine relations between his department and Zimbabwe’s Department of Public Service, Labour, and Social Welfare.
He claimed Cosatu can add nothing to the dialogue between the countries, which is already being ”adequately handled” by the two governments.
Said ANC spokesperson Smuts Ngonyama: ”Cosatu should go there, but respecting the laws of the country.”
He said that the tripartite alliance unanimously believes the visit will be a positive step towards ensuring free and fair elections in the country. – Sapa