Hero’s welcome for Vavi at Numsa conference

2013-12-18 11:16

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Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi received a hero’s welcome from metalworkers’ union Numsa as he walked into its special conference in Boksburg this morning.

The conference interrupted its discussions on day two of the four-day conference on the action it wants to take on last year’s Marikana massacre, to welcome Vavi with singing.

Calling Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini and deputy secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali by name, the delegates sang: “How could Cosatu kick out Vavi?” They also sang: “The government hates Vavi.”

Vavi smiled and greeted the leaders on the stage warmly with hugs, and shook hands with people who came up to the stage to show their support. He also joined in some of the singing, which was the most spirited so far in the conference.

Vavi was welcomed by Numsa’s newly elected president, Andrew Chirwa, who told the conference: Vavi is not expelled. He blamed “the forces of darkness who do not want to see the liberation of the working class” for suspending Vavi.

Vavi then took to the stage and said he received a Whatsapp message asking him to sing a song he always used to sing. He then continued to sing a song imploring people to walk with the freedom fighters, including Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.

A praise singer took to the stage soon after to sing his praises.

Numsa’s special conference was called to decide whether the union wants to stay in Cosatu or not, following the suspension of Vavi after he had sex with a female employee he had appointed. Numsa said his suspension was politically motivated.

Cosatu has so far not heeded calls to convene a special conference to discuss the Vavi issue.

Numsa’s conference is supported by seven other unions, including nurses union Denosa and food and allied workers’ union Fawu.

Vavi is set to deliver a lecture to the conference tonight.

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