Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini has confirmed that union leadership met the Gupta family last week, saying the family had assured them they were not leaving South Africa but had merely attended a family wedding.
Dlamini was speaking at Cosatu’s Chris Hani memorial lecture in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday night where union members mainly from the midlands region were in attendance.
“Our mission behind meeting the Guptas last week was about the jobs that were at stake if they [the Guptas] decided to leave the country,” said Dlamini.
The Cosatu president reiterated the labour union’s stance against untoward influence of the state by private capital.
“If we find that they are doing the same, we will crush them,” said Dlamini.
He accused banks that had cut ties with the Gupta family of double standards, citing an instance of construction companies which had been found guilty of colluding in 2010 projects.
“When these companies were penalised at the insistence of the competition commission the banks continued doing business them and found nothing wrong with that. What we see them [the banks] doing to the Guptas is selective punishment,” he said.
Dlamini warned Cosatu members to be vigilant against enemies, including opposition parties and civil society organisations, which he accused of pursuing a regime change agenda.
“Leaders of civil society formations are individuals who pick certain campaigns but have no wish of taking responsibility, so be careful of them. They can never be trusted because they drive the agendas of their funders all the time,” said Dlamini.
He urged the rank-and-file membership to be united and to discuss opposing views within party structures.
“As long as problems cause divisions within the alliance – whether they are over candidate lists for local government elections [or] outcomes of conferences – they need to be addressed because if they are not our enemies will win.”
Dlamini emphasised the importance of unified leadership, citing this as a critical component in the build-up to the local government elections on August 3.
“Let us avoid sending mixed signals to our people. Our stance as Cosatu is clear and that is our support of the ANC in the elections. Let us not send mixed signals that will confuse our people,” he said.
He said the union federation had accepted President Jacob Zuma’s apology over the Nkandla debacle and it was ready to move on.