"The Congress of South African Trade Unions dismisses with contempt the attempt by … Malema to ingratiate himself with the leadership of Cosatu by praising … Vavi," spokeperson Patrick Craven said on Thursday.
In an interview with the Mail & Guardian earlier this week, Malema said: "I have nothing against Vavi and will always support and defend him as a brother and comrade … We speak one language with him. He is the only revolutionary remaining in Cosatu."
Craven rejected this statement.
"This is not only totally untrue, but is also a blatant attempt to create divisions within the revolutionary trade union federation and thus weaken the workers' shield and protector," he said.
Malema was responding to Vavi's criticism of him.
The M&G quoted Vavi as saying: "Suddenly politicians far removed from the reality workers face … are positioning themselves opportunistically as the champions of the RDOs [rock drill operators].
"Their latest recruit is former ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema, a wealthy, essentially right-wing leader, who demagogically exploits any perceived weakness to encourage workers to leave their union, their only means of defence."
Malema has taken on the cause of protesting workers at Lonmin's Marikana platinum mine, in North West, who have been on strike for the past three weeks, demanding a monthly salary of R12 500.
On August 16, police fired on a group of protesting workers, killing 34 and wounding 78. Another 10 people were killed earlier that week, including two police officers and two security guards. – Sapa