Mzwandile Makwayiba. Picture: SOWETAN
Mzwandile Makwayiba. Picture: SOWETAN

If nothing drastic is done to fix the state of Cosatu affiliates, the federation will soon diminish.

This warning was delivered by the president of the National Health Education and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) Mzwandile Makwayiba at he opened Cosatu’s biggest union’s four-day congress in Boksburg.

He said the dysfunctional state of unions such as the South African Municipal Workers’ Union, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union and others would sound a death knell for the federation.

The unions are beset by a number of issues, which are centred on the pursuit for positions, amid maladministration and corruption.

Makwayiba said the Cosatu constitution needed to be changed to accommodate powers that would allow the federation’s national office bearers to intervene in unions that were struggling.

Currently, they can do only so on the invitation of the troubled unions.

"Unless it is done, our members in Samwu will join right-wing unions. The federation of Elijah Barayi is in trouble, because of its leaders. Comrades take each other to court.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Nehawu's 11th national congress at the Birchwood Hotel on June 26. He is flanked by Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: NEO GOBA.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Nehawu's 11th national congress at the Birchwood Hotel on June 26. He is flanked by Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: NEO GOBA.

"If nothing happens soon, this federation is going to diminish. I hope the commission will discuss this matter. We are not sangomas, we tell you what we see," Makwayiba said.

Ironically, as the thousands of Nehawu delegates sat listening to Makwayiba’s robust address, a silent battle raged in the union ahead of elections for new office bearers.

Business Day understands that Nehawu deputy, general secretary Zola Saphetha will challenge general secretary Bereng Soke.

Nominations for leaders close on Monday evening.

The congress will be addressed by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Public Service and Administration Minister Faith Muthambi.

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