Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

23 March 2014

South Africa: A Giant Stumbling Through the Minefield of Political Division - My Appeal to the Cosatu Workers

analysis

The central task of Cosatu was always building trade union unity. I am surprised that more has not been done to re-inforce that unity in a post-Apartheid SA. And I am shocked to see that proud body, the leader of South Africa's organised working class and largest in our history, fall to its knees with the sword of disunity piercing its heart. I cry along with millions in our country. I cry at the betrayal of the heroic cause we so painstakingly crafted in the furnace of the battle for our rights on the factory floor, three decades ago.

In 1986, 27 years ago, we survived a stadium of 60,000 screaming impis, attending the launch of our rival UWUSA, baying for our blood and marching around the sports field of Kings Park stadium carrying a coffin emblazoned with the words "Barayi/Naidoo. Cosatu is dead." We survived that; we survived the bombing of Cosatu House and many of our offices around the country. We survived the arrests and assassination of many of our officials. We grew stronger because we had a united leadership that was answerable to a mobilised and highly energised membership.

The fiery speeches of Elijah...

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