Pretoria - There is still no clarity whether Cosatu will hold a special national congress more than a third of its affiliates had called for.
Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said on Wednesday that the federation would decide only once the ANC had completed its facilitation process to try and unify Cosatu.
The ANC still needs to meet two of Cosatu’s 19 affiliates, including the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa). Although Dlamini was not able to say by when this would be done, insiders have told Independent Newspapers the ANC’s final report is likely to be tabled and discussed by Cosatu’s central executive committee in October.
The ruling party handed over an interim report on Tuesday. In that document, Dlamini said none of the affiliates disputed the constitutional right to call for a special national congress. But the intention of the congress should be to unify Cosatu and not split it. “There is no such guarantee that it (congress) will unite Cosatu. We have affiliates (with) different views on that.
“We’ll continue to work on that,” he said.
This view is not likely to sit well with the nine Cosatu affiliates who called for the special national congress last year. While the federation’s constitution allowed for at least a third of affiliates to make the call and if the president failed to hold the meeting, a convener must be appointed, it does not dictate what the motive of the congress must be. Also the nine unions could argue that by holding the congress, there would be a resolution to the issues dividing Cosatu.
Numsa and other unions agreed to hold back on court action to force Cosatu to hold the congress while the mediation process takes place. Numsa is facing expulsion from Cosatu for not supporting the ANC in May’s elections and “poaching” members from sister unions. It believes the ANC is no longer the right vehicle for workers and it wants Cosatu to leave the ruling alliance.
Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said that to achieve unity, the ANC task team agreed that the founding principles of the federation would have to be adhered to.
These included promoting the interest of Cosatu’s members, its leadership speaking with one voice, that there should be one union in one sector and implementing congress resolutions.
Numsa is adamant that it will stick to its guns on resolutions which are in conflict with Cosatu’s.