Vavi: Cosatu's calls for nationalisation not confusing

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Delwyn Verasamy, M&G)

Nationalisation was a policy of the tripartite alliance that emanated from the 1955 Freedom Charter, Vavi said in Durban on Sunday at the federation's KwaZulu-Natal provincial shopsteward council. "Any revolution that does not address who owns what will not be a revolution."

Vavi, who received a rousing welcome, added there needed to be greater state intervention in the economy and "nationalisation as it was envisaged in the Freedom Charter".

Speaking on the state of the trade union movement in the country, Vavi said there were too many unions. He said the fact that there were 193 unions in the country was an indication that the labour movement was too fragmented.

Of those 193 unions, he said 117 did not belong to one of the country's four large labour confederations, namely Cosatu, the Federation of Unions of South Africa, National Council of Trade Unions and the Confederation of South African Workers' Unions.

He also pointed out that within Cosatu, various unions overlapped in their representation.

He pointed out that the South African Democratic Teachers' Union and the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union often overlapped in the field of education.

He cited the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa as being two unions which overlapped in their representation of workers and that on occasion there were "poaching wars" between unions.

It was a concern that unions were perceived as being corrupt.
He said that a large percentage of the union members themselves perceived the unions to be corrupt.

Referring to himself, he said: "If any person inside or outside the federation brings evidence that shows I ever betrayed the trust of workers, I will resign. I will not wait for disciplinary proceedings."

The African National Congress's KwaZulu-Natal chairperson Senzo Mchunu told the council that relations between the union and the ANC were good.

He, however, warned the alliance of becoming too complacent in the 2014 general election. "If you think we are facing a small force, that's a real delusion. We are facing the challenge of defending our revolution next year," he said. – Sapa

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