Durban – The Congress of South African Trade Unions
was not confused about its call for nationalisation,
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on
Nationalisation was a policy of the tripartite alliance
which emanated from the 1955 Freedom Charter,
Vavi said in Durban at the federation’s KwaZulu-Natal
Provincial Shopsteward Council.
“Any revolution that does not address who owns what
will not be a revolution,” he said.
Vavi, who received a rousing welcome, said 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 SA,
National Council of Trade Unions and the
Confederation of SA Workers’ Unions.
He also pointed out that within Cosatu, various unions
overlapped in their representation. He pointed out
that the SA 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 SA 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
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’ KwaZulu-Natal
chairman Senzo Mkhize 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