19. May 2009

Congress of South African Trade Unions' (Cosatu) secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi and its spokesperson Patrick Craven are still on the Vodacom network, the SABC reported on Tuesday.

This was despite the union's call for workers to boycott the mobile company after its failed court attempt to halt Vodacom's listing on the JSE on Sunday.
Craven told the broadcaster that both Vavi and himself would only stop using the network once the labour federation's central executive committee had endorsed the decision.
Failed court bid The high court in Pretoria on Sunday threw out the bid by Cosatu and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to block Monday's listing of Vodacom, which is part of a deal that will give Vodafone control of the firm in one of South Africa's biggest foreign direct investments.
Halting the deal on its eve would have dealt a huge blow to the country's credentials as an investor-friendly emerging market and intensified fears of resurgent union clout under African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma, inaugurated as president on May 9.
Telkom has sold a 15% stake in Vodacom to joint owner Vodafone and is unbundling the rest to shareholders.
But on Sunday Craven said Cosatu would continue to oppose the listing by all legal means, including launching a boycott of the telecommunications giant.
He said Cosatu felt that the ruling was bad news for all people in South Africa in favour of those with money.
Craven said Judge John Murphey had accepted initially that Cosatu and Icasa had a legitimate case.
The judge said the original application to stop the deal might have succeeded because Icasa and Cosatu had a good argument, but the damages done to South Africans were outweighed by the financial benefits and as such the court could not accept the application.
Craven said the need for the ownership to remain in South African hands was far more important than the inconvenience caused to shareholders and executives.
On Monday the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) supported the call by Cosatu for a boycott and threatened to mobilise Vodacom subscribers in protest against the listing of the cellphone giant at the JSE.
Vodacom's court victory did not signal "an end to the war", said Sanco spokesperson Dumisani Mthalane.
"We are saying, now is the time for all the low-income earners, the unemployed, the shack-dwellers and every concerned South African to rise up and take a stand against exploitation by big-spenders who are bent on making profits at the expense of the poor masses," he said.
"We as Sanco support the call by Cosatu for a national boycott of all Vodacom products and we will soon be working on a strategy to mobilise the masses to mount an exodus to the opposition."
No date was given for the planned action. (Sapa)


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