Publication: The Star Issued: Date: 2003-09-17 Reporter: Mziwakhe Hlangani

Federation Members Laud Zuma and Winnie



The Star

Date 2003-09-17


Mziwakhe Hlangani

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Jacob Zuma received another hero's welcome at Cosatu's national congress - and its highest honour.

About 3 000 cheering delegates jostled to embrace him and chanted freedom songs praising the deputy president when he took the stage yesterday.

Zuma called on Cosatu to fight corruption and abuse of power, and lauded the labour federation for its resolute fight for the rights of workers.

He was not the only person to receive a hero's welcome. When Winnie Madikizela-Mandela arrived, the congress delegates erupted into thunderous applause.

President Thabo Mbeki also received Cosatu's highest honour - both he and Zuma were adorned with "Seaparankwe" - blankets carrying the Cosatu emblem.

He said the ANC "shall do whatever is necessary to help Cosatu achieve its objectives. We are fully behind the federation and would make anything possible to ensure its affiliates are strong to discharge their responsibilities".

Mbeki, who was alleged to have snubbed the congress, added that the Cosatu leadership had agreed he should accept an invitation to help quell renewed fighting in Burundi.

"I cannot understand why anybody would come to the conclusion that I snubbed Cosatu, and when I came to this congress, I would walk into enemy territory," Mbeki said.

With acknowledgements to Mziwakhe Hlangani and The Star.