Cosatu has noted the article "Madisha ANC poser" in Sowetan of March 6, which contains serious factual inaccuracies.
It is a glaring example of an article by a journalist who supports a particular faction, writes only from the point of view of that faction and ignores any evidence supporting a contrary view.
Cosatu's action against Willy Madisha was not part of any "drive to purge from its ranks all those they perceived to have supported Thabo Mbeki in the ANC presidential race". It was not a "purge" and had nothing to do with political processes within the ANC.
The central executive committee, attended by 90 representatives from all Cosatu unions, resolved, with not a single dissenting voice, that "ill-discipline will no longer be tolerated" and that decisions taken by the majority after due democratic processes must be respected by all comrades who are in leadership, without exception.
The reasons for the dismissal were not related to whether the allegations of a R500000 donation to the SACP are true or not, which is subject to inquiries by both the SACP and the SAPS, but to the way Madisha handled the matter subsequently.
The independent commission that looked into the matter had the following terms of reference:
lDid the president make public statements and what was the nature of these statements?
lWhat has been the impact (positive or negative) of these statements on Cosatu and the president and, in particular, has Madisha brought Cosatu into disrepute?
Depending on the outcome of the investigation, to investigate and determine the impact of such events on Cosatu, its national office bearers and the relationship between the president and them.
Without limiting the generality of the investigation, the commission is required to determine, in particular:
lWhether recent events have led to a destruction of trust between office bearers and the president; alternatively, whether there is any level of trust between them.
lWhether in the light of the events and the police and SACP investigations into the donation, the president is still able to discharge his responsibilities as president of Cosatu.
lWhether, and to what extent, the recent events have damaged the reputation of the president and that of Cosatu.
The commission concluded that:
lThe president did not take issue with the fact that he had made the statements;
lThe statements had a negative impact on Cosatu and Madisha and have brought Cosatu into disrepute;
lThere is no level of trust at this point between the national office bearers and the president;
In the absence of a complete turnaround in the current circumstances that confront the Cosatu leadership, which the commission believes is extremely unlikely, and an approach that paves the way for a reacceptance of the president into the broader body of Cosatu, it appears that the president will only be able to discharge his responsibilities as president with difficulty;
lThe manner in which Madisha managed the issue of the donation to the SACP damaged his reputation and that of Cosatu.
The committee accepted the commission's findings and recommendations and unanimously resolved to remove Madisha as president of Cosatu in terms of Clause 220.127.116.11 of our constitution.
Secondly, the article repeats the lie that Madisha's removal "is related to his initiating a probe into the alleged misuse of the Cosatu credit card by general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi", and that "Vavi initially denied the allegations, but subsequently paid back the money".
Cosatu must once again nail this lie. The allegation was the subject of an investigation by five union presidents, who concluded that no one, including Madisha, could produce any evidence to back up this story.
Consequently, it is not true that, Vavi "paid back" money owed on the credit card.
The article even admits that "Madisha should have himself to blame for not having explained what really happened regarding both the credit card and the missing half-a-million rand. He preferred to keep quiet all along."
Why then does the journalist repeat a story he concedes has no evidence?
Cosatu is confident that its membership will accept the democratic decision of its elected representatives on the central executive committee.
Bheki Ntshalintshali, Cosatu deputy general secretary