Vavi bid is a Labour Court matter – Cosatu advocate

2014-03-28 12:46

The bid by suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to have his suspension set aside is a matter for the CCMA and the Labour Court, the High Court in Johannesburg has heard.

“When it comes to a matter of unfair dismissal, that goes to Labour Court,” said Karel Tipp SC, for the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu).

“The Labour Court is the overall court which has an advisory council.”

Tipp today referred to the Labour Relations Act and other court matters which deal with unfair labour practices.

He said the correct route for Vavi to take would have been for him to approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) first and if the matter was not resolved, the Labour Court.

“What one has is a real question around what Mr Vavi’s purpose is in this court ... It occurred to me that My Lord was being addressed as a CCMA commissioner,” Tipp told Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo.

PJ De Bruyn SC, for Vavi, yesterday argued that Vavi’s case was a matter for the high court as it was a breach of a common law contract.

He accused Cosatu of breaching the contract which was the trade union federation’s constitution when it took the decision to suspend Vavi.

In August last year, Cosatu said Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee.

In July, the employee had accused him of rape. He said they had an affair and the woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Following Vavi’s suspension, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), an ally of his, lodged an application in the high court in Johannesburg challenging Vavi’s suspension.

Vavi then lodged papers to be added as an applicant in Numsa’s challenge.

In these, he asked the court to grant him an interim order interdicting and restraining Cosatu from enforcing any decision taken at its central executive committee meeting in August.

He wants final relief to review and set aside the decision to suspend him and institute disciplinary proceedings.

Vavi and Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim were in court today, as well as Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

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