Chaos ensues as Cosatu tries to contain Vavi, Numsa issues at special congress

2015-07-13 15:49
Tensions in Cosatu have been linked to the fallout between Zwelinzima Vavi and Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: Jabu Kumalo/Daily Sun

Tensions in Cosatu have been linked to the fallout between Zwelinzima Vavi and Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: Jabu Kumalo/Daily Sun

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WATCH: 'Vavi likes sex' - Anti-Vavi delegates sing

2015-07-13 12:16

Delegates arriving at Cosatu's special congress in Midrand danced and sang "Vavi likes sex" before the congress got under way. Watch.WATCH


A commotion broke out at the Cosatu special national congress in Midrand today when a man claiming to be a provincial secretary of one of the affiliates got into an altercation with private security guards over his accreditation. 

The angry man was shouting at the security guards who were escorting him from the hall, saying: “Who are you, who are you? You are speeding and you are going to crash.” 

The man demanded to see the president of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, June Dube. 

The altercation immediately drew the attention of the media who were gathered outside the hall. Journalists covering the event had been asked to leave the venue in an unprecedented move that highlighted the deep divisions that plagued the federation. 

The decision to bar journalists was apparently made in the morning, during a meeting by Cosatu’s leadership. 

First deputy president Tyotyo James announced after all affiliates had submitted their credentials that journalists had to leave the main venue where the special congress was taking place at Gallagher Estate. 

The man who claimed to have been duly accredited for the congress was dragged back inside the hall to avoid the journalists. 

The affiliates supporting expelled metalworkers’ union Numsa and expelled general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi wanted to use the credentials session to have additional items added to the agenda. They were trying to push for the reinstatement of both Vavi and his close ally Numsa. However, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini had warned that any disrupters would be thrown out because the issue could only be discussed at an ordinary congress in four months’ time. 

There were claims that some Numsa members were disguised as members of other unions in order to gain access to the special sitting. 

The special congress was delayed by more than an hour. 

The delay saw delegates from various affiliates marching around the hall, singing disparaging songs about expelled Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi. This related to his sexual misconduct with a junior employee in his office at the trade union federation’s headquarters. 

Other unions that supported Vavi retaliated with songs against Cosatu’s current leadership. 

Unions backing Numsa and Vavi were said to be slugging it out inside. They were also calling for second deputy president Zingiswa Losi to leave her position, which they said she was occupying illegally. 

Losi was a Numsa shop steward but left the union because it was trying to haul her into a disciplinary hearing. She resigned to join the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, and kept her position as a Cosatu national office bearer.

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