Comrade Survivor

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

Cosatu president Willie Madisha has once again baffled his detractors and survived an attempt to oust him as the federation's leader.

This happened on the first day of Cosatu's four-day central committee meeting where it was expected that the delegates would come up with a motion of no-confidence in Madisha that would force him to relinquish his position.

The central committee is the highest decision-making body, second only to Cosatu's national congress, meaning that if such a motion was passed, Madisha would have been forced to resign.

Madisha's future hung in the balance following the release of a report by an SACP task team which criticised Madisha for making allegations that he had given a R500000 donation from controversial Pretoria businessman Charles Modise to SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande.

In the report, the task team said its investigations had shown that such a donation never existed.

Following the release of the report, the SACP politburo recommended that Madisha's case be referred to the party's disciplinary committee.

By doing so, the report gave credence to a resolution passed by the Cosatu central executive committee last week wherein it accused Madisha of handling the matter in a manner that was divisive to the federation.

Yesterday, delegates held a closed session to discuss the matter before Madisha made his opening address. Speculation that the session was to discuss Madisha's future were confirmed by a senior Cosatu official who said whether Madisha would still make the opening address depended on the outcome of the closed session.

Instead of passing a motion of no-confidence, the delegates have decided that a special central executive committee should be convened to deal with the matter.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said such a meeting would decide what corrective action to take.

"We are not driven by any vengeance, but seek to take corrective action on the manner in which this matter has been handled," he said.

But some delegates have raised concern that the special central executive committee meeting could still come up with a decision to oust Madisha.

There are, however, those who are optimistic that Madisha would survive as he did at the federation's national congress last year, where he outlived a campaign led by Vavi to oust him.