Jim seeking control of Cosatu: SACP

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Independent Newspapers

Numsa's general secretary, Irvin Jim. File picture: Steve Lawrence

Johannesburg - National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim wants to take control of Cosatu, the SACP charged on Thursday.

Jim had hoped to take over from Zwelinzima Vavi as general secretary of the Congress of SA Trade Unions, if Vavi was appointed as African National Congress deputy president, said SA Communist Party deputy secretary Solly Mapaila.

He told reporters in Johannesburg that Jim had tried, in the run-up to the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung last December, to lobby President Jacob Zuma to install Vavi as ANC deputy president. Businessman Cyril Ramaphosa was elected instead.

As a result, Jim had become determined to split Cosatu and lead a break-away, said Mapaila.

He said Jim had accused the SACP and ANC of dividing Cosatu, while it was he who was dividing the federation.

"It is the Jim-Numsa leadership clique that, since the beginning of this year, has openly been proclaiming a rupture in Cosatu," said Mapaila.

Vavi was placed on special leave in August for having an affair with a junior employee.

Nine of Cosatu's 19 affiliates subsequently called for a special national congress, however its president Sidumo Dlamini said Vavi did not feature in their reasons for calling for the special congress.

Numsa has lodged an application in the High Court in Johannesburg challenging Vavi's suspension. Cosatu has asked it to withdraw the action.

Vavi has lodged papers asking to be added as an applicant. He wants final relief to review and set aside the decision to suspend him.

Last month, Numsa confirmed that it was debating whether to leave Cosatu, which would in effect mean leaving Cosatu's tripartite alliance with the ANC and the SACP.

Jim said Numsa was being isolated by the ANC and the SACP after coming to Vavi's defence. Cosatu has resolved to probe Numsa's conduct.

On Thursday, Mapaila said Jim and his group had split Cosatu on a for or against Vavi platform, instead of working to ensure that Cosatu's internal disciplinary and mediation processes were fair.

He described Jim as a bully who sought to drive wedges wherever possible.

"Anyone who does not agree with his factional positions 100 percent is presented as the enemy."

On Tuesday, Jim said Numsa had a problem with the SACP under general secretary Blade Nzimande, who is also higher education minister.

"Numsa currently cannot deny that it has fundamental philosophical, ideological and political problems with the SACP under Blade Nzimande," he said.

At the weekend, Nzimande called for lifestyle audits into Jim and his deputy Karl Cloete.

Numsa, in turn, called for lifestyle audits of members of the ANC's national executive committee, including Nzimande.

The pair accused Nzimande and his deputy Jeremy Cronin of turning the SACP into an impotent and "hollow, monopoly-capitalist front".

Mapaila said Jim had portrayed the position of the SACP on the National Development Plan as a "sell-out".

He said there was no hatred between him and Jim.

"I am a fighter. I do not hate. I was prepare to die for many people, how could I hate him?... It is now that he had acted anti-party."

Mapaila said the SACP's leadership was prepared to be subjected to lifestyle audits.

"SACP general secretary 1/8Blade Nzimande 3/8 was the first within our movement to undergo an independent lifestyle audit by February 6, 2008. The SACP remains committed to the perpetual continuation of this accountability."

Mapaila called on workers to take responsibility for the revolution.

"We need unity, but discipline is fundamental. We particularly call upon Numsa members not to be misled and be driven to the sidelines of our alliance revolution."

Numsa will hold a special national congress in Boksburg from December 13 to 16.



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