Cosatu: Mbeki loyalists not under fire

Senior Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) officials who are supporters of President Thabo Mbeki are not facing the axe, the trade-unionfederation said on Monday.

Cosatu dismissed reports that three senior officials were in the firing line as “totally untrue”.

A report in the Mail & Guardian on Friday said the three are among a group of senior Cosatu leaders who lobbied for Mbeki to retain the African National Congress presidency at the party’s elective conference in December.

They include National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa general secretary Silumko Nondwangu, and Welile Nolingo and Pasco Dyani, respectively the general secretary and president of Cosatu’s chemical industry affiliate, the report said.

It said the officials are in the firing line as Zuma-supporting Cosatu leaders, led by its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, are moving to “clear out unreliable elements” ahead of the 2009 general election.

“In particular it is totally untrue, as the M&G claims, that the CEC [central executive committee] discussed any action against Welile Nolingo and Pasco Dyani ... or that ‘Zuma supporters in the federation are investigating ways and means of moving against them’,” Cosatu’s Patrick Craven said in a statement.

Craven said it is also “not true” that Vavi is “personally responsible” for the fall of Cosatu president Willie Madisha, who was dismissed following a CEC meeting last week.

Cosatu axed Madisha over his alleged involvement in a missing donation scandal, citing “bringing the federation into disrepute” as a reason.

The City Press, quoting Madisha, said: “My battles with Vavi have everything to do with this.
We have not had smooth working relations for about three years now ...”

In the interview, Madisha said Vavi has not forgiven him for the credit-card matter—Vavi was accused of abusing a Cosatu credit card; he later repaid the money to the federation, the report said.

“Cosatu also wishes to nail the repeated lie about the alleged misuse of a credit card by the general secretary ... no one, including Willie Madisha, could produce any evidence to back up this story,” Craven said.

“Consequently, it is not true that in response to the newspaper allegations, the GS [general secretary] ‘paid back’ money owed on the credit card.”

Craven said that ill-discipline in the federation will no longer be tolerated.—Sapa

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