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Thu Dec 18 13:27:52 SAST 2014

ANC must take a chill pill - Vavi

ABONGILE MGAQELWA | 20 December, 2012 00:06
Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. File photo.
Image by: Daniel Born / Gallo Images

THE ANC is overly sensitive to criticism and this threatens to "fly democracy through the window", Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi said yesterday.

The union federation's general secretary was reacting to an attack on him by the ANC for his slamming on Tuesday of the way in which delegates at the party's national conference chose their top six leaders.

Yesterday Vavi said Cosatu was an independent organisation and would fiercely defend its independence.

He said the pressure from the ANC to muzzle Cosatu "means that when the media comes to us, wanting our opinion, we will say: 'No we are still trying to fix a meeting with the secretary-general; we will come back to you'.

"You ask us, what is our position on e-tolls - we will say: 'No, we are still trying to get an appointment with the secretary-general' and days pass without us meeting . then why will you ever call us again when you know we will say nothing?"

He said Cosatu was not willing to back down from its criticism of its alliance partners.

"If they are overly sensitive about criticism, even from their ally, then it means democracy will fly through the window," Vavi said.

"I hope that they appreciate criticism. It is painful, in particular when it is truthful."

Vavi has been vocal on social and news media, criticising the ANC's leadership slates and some of its decisions.

This week President Jacob Zuma urged the alliance partners to settle their differences outside of the public domain.

In his report, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe accused Cosatu of causing more harm to the ANC than its opponents.

"It is always awkward when any alliance partner pronounces negatively and the other alliance partners only discover the problem in the media.

"Cosatu is the only alliance partner that, from time to time, sees the democratic government as worse or the same as the apartheid regime," Mantashe said.

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