by Theto Mahlakoana and Shanti Aboobaker 15 April 15 2015 11h47
Johannesburg – The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) has accused Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini of inciting violence amid high tension in the labour movement.
The union said it was shocked by Dlamini’s comments last week when he said: “Call it a ‘United Front’ – I call it the seven-headed snake.”
He was addressing the Chris Hani memorial service in Ekurhuleni.
“Basically, what S’dumo was doing was inciting violence. He said Vavi and the United Front are like a snake with seven heads and he’s calling on the ANC and SACP to chop them, kill them, one by one,” Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said.
“I’m not sure how that will be interpreted by those who always take support for whatever belief they have to the extreme.”
But Dlamini rejected any interpretation that his comments about the seven-headed snake attacking the tripartite alliance were a reference to Cosatu unions.
“It has nothing to do with Cosatu unions. We have to engage on this. It’s not the first time talking about the seven-headed snake – I also used the term to refer to Agang,” he said.
Numsa’s accusations come shortly after the killing of SA Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) Gauteng secretary Chris Nkosi on Monday night. His killing is believed to be politically motivated.
Satawu spokesman Vincent Masoga told The Star that Nkosi was regarded as one of the most influential kingmakers ahead of the national congress this year.
The union suffered another scare on the same evening when the home of its president, June Dube, was petrol-bombed.
Police said they were investigating both criminal acts.
Numsa distanced itself from the crimes, saying past experience had taught them that they were the natural scapegoat for Satawu’s woes.
“We know that, for instance, with the subtle tensions that have been existing between us and Satawu, some people would want to be so opportunistic to suggest that it’s possible (the attacks) come from this side, in the factions that exist in the federation,” Jim said.
He added that while they could not blame the attacks on recent divisions within Satawu, this had to be taken into consideration.
“We are quite aware that, like within all Cosatu unions of late, there has been tension within the structures of Satawu, but we would have hoped people should not resort to violence,” Jim said.
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers Union said the union environment wasn’t safe.