Durban – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) was not interfering in the work of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) by taking to the streets to protest state capture, according to Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini.
Speaking at Durban City Hall on Wednesday during the trade union federation’s national shutdown, Dlamini told well over 3 500 marchers that Cosatu had a “direct interest” in how the leadership of the ANC was elected.
“People are asking us why we are interfering. We are not interfering, we have a direct interest in how the leadership of the ANC is elected because we are also affected by those issues,” he said.
The shutdown started at 10am nationwide in protest of state capture, corruption and job losses. Thirteen marches were coordinated to take place across all nine provinces.
Dlamini led the Durban march amidst a strong police presence. Before he started speaking, the crowd began singing "We are ready for Ramaphosa".
Cosatu has stated publicly it is backing deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa’s bid to be elected ANC president in December.
“Cyril Ramaphosa must be given a chance to lead the ANC,” said Dlamini to whoops and cheers from the crowd.
Dlamini had previously taken flak for being close to president Jacob Zuma, who is backing Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the position of ANC leader come the party’s December conference.
“We are saying, as workers, that we are tired of corruption. Corruption is a cancer that destroys the fibre of our society. Cosatu has said that if we stand and watch corruption would go away, but it did not go away, and it is the workers who suffer,” Dlamini told the cheering crowd.
He said there were examples of workers who had raised corruption issues as whistleblowers, but that they had been dismissed.
“The president of the republic must take immediate steps to institute a judicial commission of inquiry that must investigate state capture, and it must go deeper… it must deal with state capture by the Guptas, but it must go beyond that. We must know who has been capturing our Treasury in South Africa. We must know who is responsible for the Treasury to fail to advance a developmental agenda in South Africa,” he said.
The national shutdown was also targeting big business, rogue employers and those in government who were misusing and mismanaging government entities, he said. “We are also saying, 'do not divide us, don’t divide the workers'. We know what we stand for. No one should come with his money or her money to divide workers so that they can have their interests advanced.”
Cosatu would not stop fighting until labour brokers were “totally banned” he said. The federation was also seeking the scrapping of outsourcing.
Amongst its list of demands, Cosatu wants a judicial commission of inquiry immediately implemented and for President Zuma to decide on a date for such.
It was also seeking that state institutions cancel commercial dealings with the Gupta family and that the Guptas' assets be seized by the asset forfeiture unit. Ministers who had been implicated in allegations of state capture also needed to be urgently investigated.