Leave Manuel alone, ANC tells Cosatu

COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavii with Lesgo and Lesedi Seboni, daughters of the late COSATU deputy president, Violet Seboni on the second day of COSATU's 10th National congress at Gallagher estate in Midrand. The girls were presented with a blanket in recognition of their mother's contribution to the organisation. Pic: Vathiswa Ruselo. 22/09/2009. © Sowetan.
COSATU secretary general Zwelinzima Vavii with Lesgo and Lesedi Seboni, daughters of the late COSATU deputy president, Violet Seboni on the second day of COSATU's 10th National congress at Gallagher estate in Midrand. The girls were presented with a blanket in recognition of their mother's contribution to the organisation. Pic: Vathiswa Ruselo. 22/09/2009. © Sowetan.

THE political battle for control of President Jacob Zuma's government took centre stage at Cosatu's 10th national general congress yesterday, with the ANC chastising leaders of the labour federation for vilifying and trying to "isolate" National Planning Minister Trevor Manuel.

Cosatu went to its congress in Midrand calling for a review of Manuel's powers and claiming his responsibilities would elevate him into a powerful de facto "prime minister".

General-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi accused Manuel of trying to demean the role of the Ministry of Economic Development in national strategic planning.

He said Manuel's Green Paper on national strategic planning, which was being discussed in Parliament, did not outline Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel's role in national planning.

"The Green Paper suggests that this ministry, like all others, will be subordinate to the 'planning ministry'."

On Monday, Vavi continued his attack on Manuel.

Yesterday, ANC general-secretary Gwede Mantashe chastised Cosatu leaders for attacking individual ministers in Zuma's government, saying they should not isolate individuals like Manuel from the rest of the government.

"Our understanding is that once comrades are deployed to structures, they will participate in those structures and be loyal to the decisions they take in those structures."

He said Manuel's job came from a proposal of Nedlac, which produced the paper on "South Africa's Response to Global Economic Crisis".

"The alliance agreed on setting up a strong national planning commission and that does not mean turning that planning commission into a super ministry or into some imperialist prime minister."

Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini told the congress that Cosatu was prepared to meet the government in the streets if the proposal to regulate labour brokers - rather than banning them - was implemented.

Cosatu's top leadership, including Vavi and Dlamini, were re-elected unopposed.

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