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Vol 53 No 19

Published 21st September 2012

South Africa

Disunited unions

Despite some stage-managed glad-handing, quarrels over tactics and ideology haunt Cosatu’s conference

A political fix negotiated on 16 September allowed the leaders of the Congress of South African Trade Unions to paper over their differences as Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi agreed to tone down a critical speech about President Jacob Zuma’s government the following day. Vavi has been battling with Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini, who is a die-hard supporter of Zuma: each had wanted to push the other out of office at Cosatu’s annual conference in Midrand on 17-18 September. Yet in the face of growing militancy and disenchantment with the mainstream trades unions among workers, they agreed a truce.

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