Cosatu 8th National Congress: When the puppy gets naughty, the dog must use its teeth – OATUU

It’s not everyday that you get a chance to hear African proverbs, but delegates at the 8th National Congress of COSATU were given a pleasant surprise when Hassan Sunmonu, the General Secretary of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) addressed them on the third day of the Congress. For a few minutes trade union jargon took a back seat (thank goodness!) as the General Secretary introduced a few African proverbs to make a point that has baffled delegates and dominated much of the debate thus far – that of COSATU and its relationship to the Alliance. “The dog has teeth, and when the puppy gets naughty, the dog must use its teeth,” said the GS. The meaning was clear: COSATU must be the dog (with teeth!) and use it whenever government or capital tries to subordinate the interests of the working class and its members. It’s hard to imagine government or capital looking like a puppy, but then again looks can be deceiving. As for Cosatu’s teeth, let’s hope that they are not false!