The South African Federation of Trade Union’s (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has said that Cosatu was not independent of the ANC.

He was speaking to eNCA after addressing a May Day rally in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.

“Independence is the name. Can they claim to be independent of the ANC? No, they can’t,” he said.

He said Cosatu must not allow itself “to be pulled by the nose” by any political party.

“Unions must be truly democratic. Unions must be fighting and must not be sweethearts. (They) must be campaigning, must be based on the militant unity of workers. They mustn’t agree to hand over the working people to be further exploited by their class enemies. If Cosatu was to embrace those principles, we will unite tomorrow,” he said.

He said unity was the way to go “but principled unity”.

“Unity on the basis that the trade union movement must be independent. Unions must speak politics of the country. They must speak about issues that affect workers in the workplaces and in the communities,” Vavi said.

During his address, Vavi said they were not going to “back down” in their fight against the newly announce R20 minimum wage.

“A new struggle has begun. Maqabane, (Comrades) a new revolution is underway. If you don’t understand the nature of that revolution you’re going to be caught up in the confusion,” he said.

He said Saftu was in the struggle to liberate black people that continue to be trapped in poverty and inequality.

“And that continues to be the public face of inequality in our society, and we are not going to back down because we understand that that struggle is not just a struggle to the total emancipation of our black people but the struggle for the total emancipation of the working class in our country,” he said.

Speaking at another May Day rally at the Vaal in Gauteng, ANC’s secretary general Ace Magashule said the collective leadership of the ANC, under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, was committed towards the unity and cohesion of “our revolutionary alliance”.

He said it was to ensure that the alliance had joined programmes and that their partners were sufficiently taken on board on major issues of importance.

“Cosatu and its alliance partners, have a difficult task of ensuring that we unite the working class of our country. The events of the past few years, of the disintegration of our mighty federation into splinter formations, is a mistake that should never happen again,” he said.

Also read: Ramaphosa receives warm reception at Cosatu’s May Day rally

He said workers must be aware of the role of ‘the enemy of our revolution”, to undermine the unity of their national democratic revolution.

“Our enemy knows that the only way to defeat the ANC is to divide our revolutionary alliance from within its ranks. Our enemy is aware that a divided ANC, a divided SACP, a divided Cosatu and Sanco, will be an impediment to advance the objective of our revolution. The task before all of us, is to build for the unity of our structures and our membership in general,” he said.

He added: “We should reject all attempts by counter-revolutionary forces to divide our alliance. The enemy is there day and night to sow divisions within our ranks. Where there is a revolution there is always a counter-revolution.”

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