Divisions within Samwu
DELEGATES to the 10th South African Municipal Workers Union congress in Bloemfontein appeared divided, judging by their gestures while singing struggle songs yesterday.
Some delegates made the "V" sign with their two fingers, while others were signalling for change, using the sign popular with football fans when they want a player to be changed.
The "V" sign has become a symbol of support for President Jacob Zuma's second term bid, while those who want his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe to take over are identifiable by the change sign.
Although there were no visible signs of tension, as delegates sang the same songs, clashes are expected during the closed sessions. A delegate from Limpopo asked when the leadership of the ANC was going to speak at the congress. This came after delegates were told that the ANC leadership was still deciding who was to represent the party.
However, it later emerged that NEC member Enoch Godongwana will address the gathering today.
Samwu's general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo told Sowetan that they had sent invitations to the ANC, the SACP and Cosatu in June.
On Wednesday, SACP chairman Senzeni Zokwana, second deputy president of Cosatu Zukiswa Losi and Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Richard Baloyi spoke at the congress.
Baloyi came after members had rejected a speech by an official from his department.
In his address, Nhlapo called on members to embark on a recruitment campaign.
"We have more than 160000 members and there is nothing stopping us from reaching 200000. There are more than 40000 people who don't belong to Samwu. We are the majority union in this sector and should remain that," he said.
He called on women to start taking senior positions within the union from shop stewards, provincial and national leadership positions.
Nhlapo said many shop stewards were getting old and leaving the organisation, adding young people should be involved in leadership positions.
He said many municipalities were outsourcing services and others were affected by corruption
The union's new leadership will officially be announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC). - email@example.com