Cosatu apologises for racial slurs against Joburg MMC

3rd October 2017 By: Thabi Madiba - Creamer Media Research Assistant and Reporter

Cosatu apologises for racial slurs against Joburg MMC

Johannesburg Safety MMC Michael Sun

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) issued a statement on Tuesday, apologising “unreservedly” to Johannesburg Safety MMC Michael Sun for racial slurs made against him during the State capture and corruption march led by Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) last week.

Cosatu said it apologised to Sun for the hurt caused by statements made by their official. The official was not named.

Sun was asked by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba to receive a memorandum and to meet representatives from the trade union federation during the march whereupon marchers apparently made racial remarks against him, while SACP secretary general Blade Nzimande and other leaders allegedly looked on.

Speaking exclusively to Polity, Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said it would write an apology letter to Sun directly.

When asked if action would be taken against the official, Pamla said it was "an internal issue".

Following the incident last week, Mashaba threatened to take the organisations to the South African Human Rights Commission if they did not apologise.

On Tuesday Mashaba tweeted that Cosatu had done the right thing by apologizing to Sun. However, he said that Nzimande’s silence was deafening.

Pamla said that Cosatu would never condone any form of racism or racial discrimination and that the federation concluded that the statements made against Sun were intolerant and patronising.

However, the apology was accompanied by the remark that Mashaba was “opportunistic”.

“He never reached out to Cosatu, he was looking for attention. He should have written to the federation directly rather than issuing a public statement,” said Pamla to Polity.

SACP spokesperson Alex Mashilo also spoke to Polity, saying the SACP was the first nonracial organisation in South Africa, and had always accepted everyone irrespective of their skin colour.

He also lashed out against Mashaba alleging that he was "the first Mayor of Johannesburg who is notorious for making xenophobic attacks in Joburg" and that "he is yet to account for them."

"Nzimande addressed the march, which Mashaba ran away from. Mashaba’s allegation is of racial bigotry [and is] opportunistically levelled against Nzimande," said Mashilo.

Cosatu still wants Mashaba to deal with the issues raised during the march, and said that “this distraction does not give the mayor a get-out clause”.

Sun and Mashaba were not immediately available for comment.