Cosatu calls on NUM to show respect for SACP's decisions
CONGRESS of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sdumo Dlamini called on the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to respect the decisions of the South African Communist Party (SACP), a likely reference to the party's decision to have its general secretary, Blade Nzimande, serve the party while retaining his cabinet post.
Cosatu has long called for the position of general secretary to be a permanent one, the issue has heightened tension between the federation and its communist ally, as the SACP refused to have Mr Nzimande relinquish his ministerial post.
Mr Dlamini defended the SACP on Friday, saying its decisions should be respected.
"The party has taken decisions on how it wants to run its affairs, we should respect that because we also want them to respect our decisions," he said, addressing the NUM national congress.
He also spoke out about a hostile stance in the federation towards those who serve on both Cosatu and the SACP's highest decision-making bodies.
There are seven members of Cosatu's central executive committee who serve on the SACP's central committee including Mr Dlamini and NUM general secretary Frans Baleni.
He told delegates that the presence of these leaders among the SACP's top brass should not be "misused" and "interpreted wrongly".
"They must never be accused because are standing there as members of the SACP... They do not represent Cosatu."
"They do not seek to sit in the central committee... to discuss positions of Cosatu," he said.
Cosatu leaders serving on the central committee appear to be closer to the African National Congress leadership, led by President Jacob Zuma.
These include Mr Dlamini, Mr Baleni, NUM president Senzeni Zokwana and National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union general secretary Fikile Majola.
Mr Dlamini urged delegates to support the ANC leadership elected in Polokwane, in line with Cosatu's 2008 resolution to do so.
"Why are we defending the Polokwane leadership? Because we were aware of an emerging tendency from our own ranks of people who were resolved to undermine that leadership, the tenderpreneurs," he said.
He was adamant that this position had not changed and questioned those challenging it.
Mr Dlamini condemned public spats and bickering in the ruling alliance, saying this served only to embolden the "enemies of the working class".
"What else should they do when they see us strangling ourselves in public?" he asked.
Mr Dlamini told the federation's largest affiliate that unity among them was paramount. This comes as the leadership contest in the NUM has caused divisions, with allegations of impropriety hurled by the two factions contesting the poll.
One faction is pushing for the incumbent leadership to remain in place while the other wants to see Mr Baleni replaced by deputy general secretary Oupa Komane.
"Don't make the mistake of creating factions... Factions must never be elevated to issues of principle," he said.
Mr Dlamini's unifying message echoed that of Mr Nzimande - when he addressed the congress on Thursday - and Mr Zuma, who spoke on Wednesday.
The congress was set to take decisions on its stance toward the nationalisation of mines and on the ANC leadership question on Friday and voting will take place on Saturday.
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