The fight against corruption, business unionism and use of money to divide unions is going to be one of the immediate priorities of COSATU, following the recently held Central Executive Committee meeting. It is disturbing to see the toxic role of money in weakening and dividing trade unions.
The CEC has instructed the federation to push back against this phenomenon starting with the case of Mr Isaac Shongwe vs CEPPWAWU. Mr Shongwe is a businessman who has been engaged in a never-ending tussle with CEPPWAWU, over money that he claims as his own from their Investment Company.
He continues to fight and divide the union over money that he claims is due to him. This claim is preposterous because Mr Shongwe and his company Letsema never put any money of their own into the investment to get it started. The money belonged to the Chemical Industries National Provident Fund and therefore belongs to the workers.
He has been trying to buy support from some sections of the union leadership and for this we plan to take action. We want the Public Protector and the Hawks to investigate this matter of Mr Shongwe’s attempt to appropriate workers money for himself. We also want other financial and regulatory bodies to make sure that he is investigated and blacklisted for unethical conduct and not be allowed to sit in company boards or hold leadership positions. We shall be engaging with the Department of Labour about the fate of the worker’s money and the attempts to pilfer it.
COSATU will not allow corruption to impoverish innocent workers and will take all necessary steps to ensure that members’ money is protected.The money of our members will not be used to fund political projects and to buy influence for Mr Shongwe. He has inserted himself in the internal processes of the union and his divisive conduct has plunged the union into a crisis and has resulted in workers feeling under siege and neglected for a number of years now.
The money he is trying to take from the union belongs to the lowly paid workers and their children and is supposed to be used to fund their children’s education and also empower these lowly paid workers and their families. We plan to mobilise workers themselves to be foot soldiers in this fight against business unionism in order.
We are not prepared to see unions being used as instruments of the corrupt elite and their leaders being lieutenants of capital and agents of corruption in the intensified exploitation of the workers. We will not allow the trade union bureaucracy to use these union internal processes to preserve its own interests, resorting to the basest machinations, repressions and plain crookedness.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794