Disgruntled members say Cosatu union leaders cannot be trusted anymore as they accuse them of looting workers’ money.
The trade union federation made this frank admission in a confidential organisational report which was presented at its central executive committee (CEC) meeting (its highest decision-making body between conferences) last week.
The federation strictly condemned the fact that most of its affiliates were deteriorating and the major cause of their challenges is greed for money.
“There is an existing trust deficiency between members and too many of our union leaders. Too many of our unions are going through internal organisational turmoil leading to divisions and splits. Some of our unions have split more than twice in their lifetime without the union evaluating and addressing the reasons which led to the first split,” it states.
“At the centre of these organisational divisions is money; it is corruption and leadership style which when properly analysed it is found that it is not just undemocratic leadership style for its own sake, but it is about a leader giving himself or herself a right and a space to loot union resources.”
The organisation also argues that some service providers had captured their union leaders, using them to loot union funds.
Among those responsible for manipulating Cosatu union leaders and stealing workers’ money are legal firms, pension fund administrators, printing companies, and medical aid companies.
“What has become even more of a problem is that unions do not appreciate and accept Cosatu’s intervention and this comes with political dishonesty and a lack of understanding of Cosatu policies or in some instances comes from direct and deliberate undermining of the standing of the federation,” the document added.
In addition, Cosatu union leaders have failed to adhere to the organisation’s constitution in expelling members, which they have made “too easy and frequent.”
The federation also issued a warning to unions that continued to snub its central executive meetings of which Food and Allied Workers Union is at the helm.