Port Elizabeth - Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe has warned politicians and public representatives against accepting even the smallest of gifts, saying this could lead to corruption.
He said it could take something as small as a couple of rugby tickets for public representatives to become caught up in a corrupt relationship.
Addressing a May Day celebration in Zwide, Port Elizabeth, Motlanthe said people should think twice before accepting gifts from people.
With its “limited resources”, South Africa could not afford this.
“Corruption is a very simple problem. Its front line soldiers are gifts.
“You see, when you work as a councillor, or MEC, or minister, or deputy president, once there are people who come with tickets to a rugby final and leave them with you, you must be aware of the consequences.”
Such people didn’t ask for favours immediately.
“They won’t ask you for any favours at the time. But one day, the same person, while you are sitting at the counter, will find themselves at the back of a long queue and wave at you. And you must make a plan for him to come to the front. That’s corruption. It has started.
“It doesn’t announce itself with drum majorettes. It happens bit by bit. Small gifts. So you must be aware and conscious not to accept these.”
Turning to employers, Motlanthe said all they wanted was a workforce that was “not in solidarity so they can take advantage and suck your blood.
“That is why it’s important for workers to be in solidarity. You must be united in order for you to raise your issues. Employers have no shame. They will abuse you.”
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said corruption should not be looked for outside the tripartite alliance.
“Corruption is here inside the house. It’s here in the unions. In the SACP, look inside and not outside.”
Delivering the memorial lecture for former Cosatu president John Gomomo in Port Elizabeth on Wednesday night, Vavi slammed the “continuous importation of greed, survival of the fittest and dog-eat-dog capitalist culture” into the movement.
“This… has led to the spread of corruption and divisions. While the poor live in poverty and squalor, we are producing too many greedy billionaires. They conspire to fix prices and corrupt businesses, politicians and public officials, who manipulate tenders to enrich their business interests.”
Speaking on the sidelines of the May Day celebrations in Port Elizabeth on Thursday, Vavi and Irvin Jim, leader of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), dismissed reports that suggested their relationship was taking strain because of the Cosatu general secretary’s decision to help the ANC election campaign.
Since his suspension from Cosatu was lifted by the high court, Vavi has been to at least three public engagements and has expressed support for the ANC.
Numsa, by contrast, is loggerheads with the ANC and Cosatu, with threats to establish its own political formation.
Vavi told the crowd of close to 1 000 his heart was “sore” because of the divisions in the labour movement.
“People want me to make an announcement so that you tell workers they must not vote for the ANC.
“Notwithstanding all the divisions and decisions taken by the Numsa congress, they must decide whatever they believe is in the interests of their members.”
Vavi said the resolutions adopted at the Numsa congress did not mean this union’s position would overrule that of all other unions.
“This thing that Vavi has sold out Numsa because it was Numsa supporting him is actually not right.
“If I was to do that, that would mean that Vavi was not the general secretary of all the 19 unions, but the general secretary of one union.”
Vavi said there would be no unity if people continued to be suspended left, right and centre.