Fawu lashes out at ANC polls manifesto

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Johannesburg - The Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) on Sunday criticised the ANC election manifesto for including anti-worker proposals, and not enough for workers’ interests.

But it stopped short of withdrawing its endorsement of the governing party.

Fawu, at its weekend special national executive committee (NEC) meeting, toed a careful line in deciding that while encouraging workers to vote ANC, it should not expect the traditional financial, moral and electioneering support.

“The only reason we are doing so, we want to prevent the opportunistic and right-wing parties (from gaining support),” said Fawu deputy general secretary Moleko Phakedi.

“We’ll be in a worse position, if led by the Economic Freedom Fighters, the DA or AgangSA.”

However, discussions on a new political home – based on policy, not sentiment – are already under way within Fawu in the run-up to its 2015 national congress, which may overturn the previous resolution in support of the ANC.

Fawu’s decision on the ANC stops short of that of metalworkers’ union Numsa, which, at its special congress in December resolved not to endorse the ANC this time.

On the eve of a crucial meeting of Cosatu’s central executive committee (CEC) – the three-day meeting from Monday is variously described as “do-or-die” or “make-or-break” – Fawu threw its support behind Numsa to block any moves to suspend or even expel the 341 000-strong metal workers’ union from Cosatu.

Phakedi said none of the Numsa special congress resolutions contravened Cosatu policies or its constitution.

“Fawu does not take it too kindly that they are intimidated. (The threat of suspension or expulsion) will take away affiliates’ independence and Cosatu starts acting like a big brother,” he said, adding that it was up to Numsa to argue for support of its special congress resolution.

This month a special Cosatu meeting asked Numsa to provide reasons why it should not be suspended or expelled over its special congress resolutions not to endorse the ANC for the elections and its call for the labour federation to break away from the tripartite alliance.

Instead Fawu indicated it was lobbying for support for a motion of no confidence in the current Cosatu leaders, not just its president S’dumo Dlamini as per a NEC decision last year. Lobbying among the 19 Cosatu affiliates started on Sunday after the conclusion of Fawu’s special NEC in Cape Town.

“Should it become pretty obvious such a motion (of no-confidence) should enjoy support, we’ll table it,” said Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola following his deputy criticism that Dlamini’s “factionalist approach” had made the whole Cosatu leadership “ineffective”.

A motion of no confidence has already found support with municipal workers’ union Samwu, which with Numsa, Fawu, nurses union Denosa and five others, have been pushing for a special Cosatu national congress and the re-instatement of suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

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