ANC critics purged from Nehawu

Calling for unity within Cosatu, President Jacob Zuma shakes hands with its president Sdumo Dlamini, who is at odds with general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Skyler Reid)

Calling for unity within Cosatu, President Jacob Zuma shakes hands with its president Sdumo Dlamini, who is at odds with general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Skyler Reid)

Jawoodeen was removed from her position as deputy general secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), a move viewed by some within the labour movement as part of a clean-up campaign against those who are too critical of the ANC and the state.

An activist in her own right, Jawoodeen is seen by some of her comrades within Nehawu as an ultra-leftist and a close ally of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. 

Jawoodeen failed to make it on to the nomination list – leaving Free State provincial secretary Bareng Soke to be elected unopposed as deputy general secretary. 

At the Nehawu conference in Boksburg on Thursday, a group of angry delegates sang in protest at Jawoodeen's removal.

Vavi is facing an uncertain future as a faction aligned to Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini is pushing for his removal. This week, Vavi cut a lone figure during the conference. 

His supporters see the decision to invite Cosatu deputy president Zingiswa Losi to address the conference as a snub. Losi is one of Dlamini's close allies. 

Vavi critics
Nehawu general secretary Fikile Majola, whose re-election was unopposed, has lately become one of Vavi's more vocal critics.

His secretariat overview report accuses Vavi of not being fully in line with the views of the federation.

"Leading to the 11th congress [of Cosatu], our union had come to a conclusion at the 2011 central executive committee that there was a political strategic rupture within the federation, in particular with regard to our strategic posture as Cosatu on the one hand and the political views and organisational practice of the general secretary [Vavi] on the other hand,” it said.

"Indeed, notwithstanding the tabloid claims in the media, from our point of view as Nehawu, it is this political strategic rupture that constitutes the essence of the current internal instability and disarray within the federation. 

"The rest of the other issues are the logical manifestations of this fundamental issue.
However, we are equally concerned about the ongoing allegations of corruption around the Cosatu House and [Cosatu funding arm] Kopano ke Matla, but these matters are currently before the internal process of inquiry and Nehawu has made its own submission, principally on the key questions of the political strategic rupture,” said Majola.

Majola said Cosatu should remain an independent component of the alliance with the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) in pursuit of the strategic objectives of the national democratic revolution, wherein each component played a different but complementary role.

"Thus, in the process of this struggle, these formations of the alliance of necessity become interdependent of each other. Therefore, it must be clear that within Cosatu when we speak of the ANC and SACP, we are speaking of our own – the spearhead of our national liberation movement and the vanguard of the South African working class. 

"Cosatu is not an oppositional watchdog to the ANC and the alliance, and we are strategically opposed to all forces, be they nongovernmental organisations, institutes, political parties or the media, that are positioned as such. These are part of a larger project of the anti-majoritarian offensive,” said Majola.

Unity call 
President Jacob Zuma this week called for unity within Cosatu and the alliance: "The workers of this country need a united and strong Cosatu to defend their rights and advance their daily struggles.

"The unity of Cosatu as a federation is entirely dependent on the actions or non-actions of its individual affiliates. In this regard, Nehawu and all affiliates are duty-bound to do everything in their power to defend the unity of Cosatu,” Zuma said.

"Issues, if any, of the federation must be discussed at proper platforms of the federation in line with the Constitution of Cosatu and consistent with our proud traditions of democratic engagement.” 



Matuma Letsoalo is a senior politics reporter at the Mail & Guardian. He joined the newspaper in 2003, focussing on politics and labour, and collaborated with the M&G's centre for investigations, amaBhungane, from time to time.In 2011, Matuma won the South African Journalist of the Year Award and was also the winner in the investigative journalism category in the same year.In 2004, he won the CNN African Journalist of the Year prize – the MKO Abiola Print Journalism Award. Matuma was also a joint category winner of the Mondi Shanduka SA Story of the year Award in 2008. In 2013, he was a finalist for Wits University's Taco Kuiper Award. Read more from ML

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