Cosatu talks with zille fail

Talks between Cosatu in Western Cape and Premier Helen Zille - to have her reverse the appointment of an all-male provincial cabinet - have failed.

Cosatu will now ask Nedlac - a consensus-seeking body of government, business and labour - tomorrow to order Zille to revive an old provision that allows the premier to appoint into cabinet people with expertise - who were not on the elections list.

Speaking after what he described as a "difficult" meeting with Zille yesterday, Cosatu regional secretary Tony Ehrenreich said if Zille did not work with the federation to introduce women into her all-male cabinet, "there will be a real possibility of protest action".

Ehrenreich said that while Zille had acknowledged her all-male, mostly white cabinet was a problem, "she insisted on misleading the conversation into what happens in President Zuma's government and the representivity issues there, instead of finding a solution here".

"The premier seemed to be stuck on the statements made by the MK veterans and other matters that had happened during the elections.

"This is a time when leadership and statesmanship is required. The premier failed to demonstrate that. But we hope to continue working with her to make sure she realises the incredible responsibility that she has as the leader of Western Cape."

Zille had, for the first time, reportedly admitted that she had approached Cope's Thozama Bevu to be in her cabinet.

According to Ehrenreich, Zille also conceded that the ID's Sarah Paulse would have made a good MEC.

Ehrenreich said that if Zille had not poisoned relations with Cope by attacking Allan Boesak, its Western Cape premier candidate, before the elections, Cope may have allowed Bevu to join Zille's cabinet.

Meanwhile, Cosatu is set to hold "continuous talks" with Zille in future about the recession.

They bemoaned the fact that they had a "detailed plan" with the previous ANC administration about how to counter job losses and retrenchments and would now have to go back to the drawing board with the new DA administration.

Zille's spokesperson did not respond to calls to comment.