Cosatu calls for mobilisation of millions

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The Congress of South African Trade Unions has called for the
mobilisation of workers, civil society and religious groups in
putting an end to the political situation in Zimbabwe.

Talking to Sapa, Cosatu spokesman Paul Notyhawa said:
"We want nothing short of the mobilisation of millions. We want to
ensure harm to the criminals, these being the Zanu-PF politicians
benefiting from (President Robert) Mugabe's regime.

"We want to ensure that the pain they are going to feel hits
hard without harming the victims who have already suffered enough,"
said Notyhawa.

He said they were aware that, in war, there were casualties on
both sides but that they were prepared for that.
Cosatu and the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) met on
Thursday in Musina, Limpopo, to discuss the socio-economic
conditions in Zimbabwe and how best Cosatu could assist.

This was after the 20-strong Cosatu delegation was prevented
from entering Zimbabwe on Wednesday afternoon.

A joint statement by Cosatu and ZCTU said that the labour bodies
had called for a special executive meeting of the Southern African
Trade Union Coordination Council (SATUCC) to organise concerted
action in support of these demands.

"Options to be presented to the SATUCC and Cosatu Central
Executive Committee include intensified pickets, demonstrations,
including blockades of all borders to Zimbabwe, and setting up of a
legal aid fund to assist the ZCTU," read the statement.

Asked whether the labour body was not worried about the impact
of any mass action, Notyhawa, said: "We voted for this government
and it is obliged to protected us.

"Our priority is take care of our own house first. Why should we
worry about the Zimbabwean government? They have showed that they
do not care about our government when they threw us out of Zimbabwe
even though we are alliance partners of the ruling party."

He said the government could continue with its quiet diplomacy
approach and they will continue with the "revolution.
"It is pain that will change the attitudes of the Zimbabwean
government," said Notyhawa.

He said they were very optimistic that their members would heed
their call for mass demonstrations as Zimbabwe's problems affected
and burdened the working class in both countries.

"We will not carry out any action without first reporting back
to our regional and local structures so that our members can debate
all issues and give us feedback. The ZCTU will do the same," said
Notyhawa.

The meeting also produced a number of demands, among them the
scrapping of acts prohibiting unions from holding meetings, for
example, without the government's permission.

Cosatu and ZCTU have also called for the establishment of an
independent electoral commission, the presence of SADC observers to
access pre-election conditions and the end to Cosatu's prohibition
to enter Zimbabwe.

Notyhawa said a central executive meeting would be held from
February 14 to 17 but that the alliance partners would be briefed
first.

Sapa

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