Article distorts Cosatu views

COSATU condemns an article in Sowetan of February 15, under the headline: "Zuma same as Mbeki - Cosatu" by Zukile Majova. It is a gross distortion of Cosatu's views and the federation demands an apology.

COSATU condemns an article in Sowetan of February 15, under the headline: "Zuma same as Mbeki - Cosatu" by Zukile Majova. It is a gross distortion of Cosatu's views and the federation demands an apology.

There is not a word in any Cosatu statements about the State of the Nation Address, or in comments by Cosatu representatives to Majova, or even anything in the article itself, that in any way justifies that headline.

Cosatu's views on President Jacob Zuma's speech were explained in its statement. That makes it very clear that the federation welcomed many of the president's proposals, while expressing concern about others.

It expressed a worry over what we regarded as serious omissions from the speech, notably the unemployment crisis and the decent work agenda.

Most media coverage unfortunately focused on the negative comments and ignored the positive ones. Majova's article was typical, only selectively quoting critical remarks.

We would obviously have preferred a more balanced coverage of our views on the address fromSowetan and the media in general.

There is nothing in any Cosatu statements that workers are being treated no better under Zuma than under his predecessor. That is an invention of Majova himself, which is not supported in the article.

On the contrary, the federation has repeatedly praised the advances made at the ANC 2007 Polokwane Conference and subsequently, under Zuma's leadership, in adopting and implementing policies that will benefit workers and the poor and take forward the national democratic revolution.

The same applies to improvements in transparency and openness. Those comrades whom Majova interviewed were not complaining but carefully explaining to him that it is normal practice for the contents of speeches such as the State of the Nation and Budget to be kept confidential until delivery, and that this practice did not amount to keeping "his allies in the dark about the content of his State of the Nation Address".

Zwelinzima Vavi,

Cosatu general secretary

X