Eastern Cape unions rally behind Vavi

2013-08-13 23:25
Zwelinzima Vavi (Picture: Sapa)

Zwelinzima Vavi (Picture: Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The eve of a crucial Cosatu central executive meeting that may axe General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, saw Eastern Cape affiliates rallying behind him.

The National Union of Metalworkers SA (Numsa) and the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) in the province said factions within the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) were behind attempts to remove Vavi.

"The agenda of the factionalists was defeated at the last Cosatu congress, when the general secretary received overwhelming support," Samwu spokesperson Siphiwo Ndunyana said.

"Now some of the same people are trying to remove the general secretary via the back door."

Samwu's provincial executive committee called on the CEC to constructively deal with the matter and act responsibly.

Last month, a junior employee at Cosatu accused Vavi of rape. He admitted to having a sexual affair with the woman but said it was consensual.

The woman subsequently withdrew her sexual harassment complaint against him.

Cosatu will hold a special CEC meeting in Johannesburg on Wednesday where Vavi could reportedly face possible sanction for his admission of the affair.

Numsa in the Eastern Cape said the factions, which wanted Vavi out, had resorted to using Cosatu's internal processes to do so.

"The political career and revolutionary life of comrade Vavi has been made a misery since the Cosatu national congress, where a reactionary anti-working class faction attempted to contest him, and failed," regional secretary Phumzile Nodongwe said.

"Even before the dust had settled on the Cosatu congress in which comrade Vavi was elected unopposed, this faction transferred their attacks and fight to remove comrade Vavi to the internal processes of Cosatu."

Both Numsa and Samwu said they believed Vavi was being targeted because he was outspoken.

Numsa's national office demanded on Monday for the cancellation of the special CEC.

The metalworkers' union was reportedly set to convene a special congress of its own in December.

According to a report in the Business Day, it was understood that should Cosatu fail to cancel Wednesday’s meeting, Numsa would propose that it withdraw its subscription to the federation, which was thought to be about R800 000 a month.

Vavi’s fate

Numsa said on Monday that comments by Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini had "contaminated" the planned meeting to discuss Vavi's fate.

Numsa said Dlamini had "determined" that Vavi had brought Cosatu into disrepute before the CEC received a report on the matter.

Numsa in the Sedibeng region in Gauteng said it was supporting a call of no confidence in Dlamini.

"In fact this call is long overdue given the fact that towards the 11th national congress of Cosatu, we were concerned of the two voices descending from Cosatu House," regional secretary Mokete Makoko said.

"As a region, we have long lost confidence... [in] the Cosatu president."

Makoko said Numsa in the region hoped Dlamini would turn over a new leaf and work on uniting Cosatu.

On Tuesday, Dlamini told the SABC's Morning Live programme that he and Vavi were not enemies.

"I have worked with him in that office for seven years now. There is nothing between us that we can point out to say is a problem and these are the differences," he said.

"There is absolutely nothing which is personal between me and the general secretary."

Dlamini said he would not respond to Numsa's comments publicly.

Read more on:    numsa  |  samwu  |  cosatu  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  sidumo dlamini  |  johannesburg

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