Cosatu wants more power

AS IT prepares for its 10th elective national congress, Cosatu has been open about demanding more clout in the ruling tripartite alliance and in the government of President Jacob Zuma.

Cosatu top brass have said the two million-strong labour federation wanted to consolidate political gains made in the Zuma epoch. As it holds its congress from today till Thursday, Cosatu boasts that it played a major role in propelling Zuma to the highest office in the land.

Other political gains include the election of former unionist and SACP chairperson Gwede Mantashe to the position of ANC general secretary.

Zuma has also incorporated former unionists and SACP bosses into influential cabinet positions.

Despite this, Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini told a recent Sadtu meeting that government could overlook some of Cosatu's demands.

"Not everybody who supported our case going to Polokwane was really with us. We said a new ANC government would ban labour brokers. But now Parliament wants to regulate labour brokers," he said.

On the power front Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said they wanted more power for Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, as promised by Zuma.

Vavi said Cosatu wanted Patel to play a bigger role in the national planning commission headed by Minister in the Presidency Trevor Manuel.

The tussle for the control of economic planning erupted again last week when a Business Day report quoted Cosatu saying Manuel was fast becoming SA's de facto "imperial" prime minister.

In a report to be presented by Vavi at Cosatu's congress, the federation claimed Manuel was trying to demean Vavi's role in national strategic planning.

Last week the ANC criticised Cosatu for attacking Manuel, saying the vitriol was "unfortunate."