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Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini has taken on the federation’s North West members who gestured in the air to indicate that they wanted a change of leadership in the ANC.
A few people were seen in Potchefstroom on Saturday making the gesture associated with football supporters when they want a substitution to be made in the field of play, just before Dlamini – who has been widely linked to those in support of a second presidential term for President Jacob Zuma – took to the podium to address one of three Cosatu provincial congresses at the weekend.
Before speaking, Dlamini broke into a song: “Samthath’uZuma, samfak’eLuthuli, sathi phatha Msholozi (We took Zuma, put him in Luthuli House and told him to govern).”
The substitution hand gesture has been in common currency at ANC gatherings and has been made mostly by those opposing Zuma’s return to the helm of the ruling party and government.
Dlamini reprimanded delegates and warned them against “alien tendencies and not our culture” (in Cosatu).
”Those who were busy doing that should stop it or otherwise we’d ask questions about conduct that is unbecoming,” he said.
The North West, Mpumalanga and Northern Cape held their provincial congresses at the weekend and elected new leaders.
The congresses were addressed by both Dlamini and Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
Dlamini warned Cosatu members in the North West against finding themselves “entrenched in factions in the ANC and not playing a role of uniting”.
He said: “We should play a role that seeks to entrench unity other than being locked in factions. This congress should be able to say with Cosatu: ‘It stops now; we’re going out to unite our allies,’ “ he said.
Dlamini also called for a change in the pattern of business ownership in the country and for “radical economic transformation”. He said nationalisation was “Cosatu’s position”.
The Cosatu leader also called for a stop to public spats with the SACP, which he described as the federation’s closest ally.
“We must work together and ensure that there is harmony.”
Addressing delegates at the Mpumalanga congress in Mbombela (Nelspruit) at the weekend, Vavi also spoke against factions.
He said: “We insist there will be no economic transformation led by a divided and factionalised organisation.
“Our biggest challenge is that we won’t listen,” he added.
“The more we speak against the dangers of factionalising our organisation, the more we do just that.”
Simultaneously, North West MEC for Education Louisa Mabe told a Cosatu conference her government was plagued with corrupt politicians and public servants and her province was on the brink of food shortages.