LABOUR federation Cosatu has growled back at former National Assembly speaker Frene Ginwala for saying there was "inferior quality" political leadership in the country.
"Look at the level of political leadership in this country," Ginwala had told the Sunday Times last weekend. "It's not very good. How many of our leaders lead by example?"
The ANC veteran said President Jacob Zuma should have rejected the proposed 7 percent salary increase for MPs in the same way former president Nelson Mandela had forced MPs to forfeit their pay hikes in 1995.
"When, for example, in 1995 Mandela announced that we would take salary cuts, starting with himself and grading down, there were some complaints among us but it went through," Ginwala said.
"This time all that was done at a time of grave economic crisis and unemployment ... was to reduce by 1 percent the salary increases of all public officials."
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven said the labour force found it "ironic" that Ginwala, who has presided when the travelgate fraud scandal broke, was challenging Zuma's decisions.
"How ironic that someone who presided over the National Assembly during the time of the travelgate fraud scandal should now attack Zuma's decision to award a modest 7 percent increase.
"Cosatu has always been critical of excessive salary increases for senior officials but 7 percent is certainly not excessive."
Cosatu also condemned Ginwala's criticism of the ANC leadership's failure to "rein in" youth wing president Julius Malema for "insulting older people".