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Sat Oct 25 11:32:26 SAST 2014

Vavi urges ANC to follow Cosatu example

GEORGE MATLALA | 19 September, 2012 00:09
Cosatu's national congress in Midrand, north of Johannesburg, yesterday. The head of the trade union federation, Zwelinzima Vavi, told delegates the ANC needed to ensure its succession battle was not counter-productive Picture: DANIEL BORN

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called on the ANC to emulate his federation and avoid a bruising succession fight.

Vavi, who was re-elected unopposed on Monday, said vicious battles over leadership positions would weaken the ANC and hamper its ability to deliver on its promise to transform the economy radically.

Delivering his political report at the Cosatu conference at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, yesterday, Vavi appealed to those jostling for power in the ANC to desist for the sake of the unity of the party.

"We are calling for those who have narrow ambitions to please hold on a little bit. The factionalists are trying to slaughter each other. Hold on ," he said.

"We hope the movement will be inspired by the maturity that was demonstrated by Cosatu."

Vavi said members of Cosatu would be the worst affected if the ANC "collapsed".

Vavi's comments were made as jockeying for power in the ANC gets into top gear two weeks before the party opens nominations for leadership positions.

His sentiments can be interpreted as an indication that Cosatu is likely to support President Jacob Zuma's re-election and the retention of the other top five leaders of the ANC.

Zuma enjoys the support of the National Union of Mineworkers, Cosatu's biggest affiliate.

The second-biggest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, and Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, have called on the federation to support Zuma, who received a warm reception from conference delegates, who sang in praise of him.

It is expected that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will challenge Zuma, but Cosatu and its affiliates are pushing for Zuma, party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and chairman Baleka Mbete to retain their positions

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is being touted in some circles as successor to Mantashe.

But Vavi is concerned about the effect the scrambling for power is having on the ANC and the possibility that leaders might fight "to the last drop of our blood" at the elective conference in Mangaung.

"The worst thing that could happen to the ANC is for every delegate to arrive [in Mangaung] with no programme because we spend all our time battling each other without thinking about what is in the best interests of the movement.

"[Cosatu] avoided this yesterday," he said.

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