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ANC to urge alliance to push for Cosatu unity

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The ANC’s national executive committee (NEC) has decided to seek input from its alliance partners to help resolve the turmoil in Cosatu, secretary general Gwede Mantashe said on Monday.

“The NEC agreed that the task team must work hard for unity and cohesion in Cosatu,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“In working towards this unity, the ANC will engage its alliance partners to be part of the effort in forging unity within Cosatu and the alliance.”

Last week, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sidumo Dlamini said the ANC had stepped in once again to help the embattled federation deal with its internal struggles.

This included the charges against its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, who was suspended last year for having an affair with a junior employee.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), a Vavi ally and Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, was expelled from Cosatu earlier this month.

Numsa had taken Cosatu to court over Vavi’s suspension. Earlier this year the suspension was overturned and Vavi returned to work.

Mantashe said the NEC meeting, which was held in Irene at the weekend, also discussed the “ongoing disruptions and anarchy” in the National Assembly.

“The narrative that the president is refusing to answer questions is malicious and baseless,” he said.

Mantashe said President Jacob Zuma had appeared before Parliament five times in as many months and there was “no record that the president has not complied with parliamentary rules and the Constitution”.

There have been chaotic scenes in the National Assembly recently with opposition parties calling for Speaker Baleka Mbete to step down over allegations of bias, and for Zuma to answer questions about the R246 million security upgrades to his homestead at Nkandla, in KwaZulu-Natal.

Mantashe said the African National Congress was the true target of “these attacks”.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was due to meet opposition parties in Johannesburg on Monday after a Parliamentary truce he brokered last week fell apart.

In terms of the deal, disciplinary proceedings against the Economic Freedom Fighters for heckling Zuma about Nkandla in August would be held in abeyance in return for assurances that they would respect parliamentary rules.

A report by the powers and privileges committee was to have been tabled with the likely result that various EFF MPs, including Malema, would be suspended from Parliament for up to 30 days for contempt of Parliament.

Mantashe said some of the opposition parties’ actions undermined the Constitution and democracy, but that the ANC had a duty to defend democracy, and he encouraged Ramaphosa to continue his efforts in engaging opposition parties. SAPA

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