Vavi leaving Cosatu would be logical - analyst

2014-11-08 16:06
File: Sapa

File: Sapa

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - It would be a logical step for Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to leave Cosatu, political analyst Richard Pithouse said on Saturday.

Before his suspension last year after having an affair with a junior employee, Vavi was a primary critic of President Jacob Zuma, while Congress of SA Trade Unions president Sdumo Dlamini was known for being pro-Zuma, he said.

"...So I don't think it could be possible for them to work together. It would make sense for Vavi to throw his weight behind Numsa."

Asked about the likelihood of Vavi leaving Cosatu, Pithouse said: "It is a logical step".

Earlier, Vavi tweeted "Guillotine of +350 000 workers is a game changer & will have profound political and organisational implications - what is to be done"?

Real change

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA had about 350 000 members, representing almost 16% of Cosatu's membership of 2 2 million.

Pithouse said Vavi was clearly aligning himself with Numsa in the tweet.

The union's expulsion during a special central executive committee (CEC) sitting on Friday signified a real change in South African politics, Pithouse said.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim confirmed the expulsion on Saturday.

"Yes, Numsa has been expelled," he said in an sms.

Pithouse said the expulsion was part of a steady breakdown of the African National Congress's power.

"No one saw what the consequences would be. The ANC's power is being reduced, it is fracturing in Parliament, in the communities and with political parties."

Service delivery protests

This was reflected in the number of service delivery protests happening across the country and the formation of the Economic Freedom Fighters.

The ANC set up a task team, led by party deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, in April to help the trade union federation overcome infighting.

It met 19 Cosatu affiliates to canvass their views on tensions within the federation, and to get input on whether the tripartite alliance between the ANC, Cosatu, and the SA Communist Party, should continue.

The ANC had urged Cosatu to address infighting, amidst rumours of an imminent split.

At its special congress in December, Numsa decided not to support the ANC in the May general elections, which went against Cosatu's policy.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Saturday CEC members voted on whether Numsa should stay, with 33 votes for expulsion and 24 against it.

On Friday, Jim gave a presentation defending the union against possible expulsion from the Cosatu. Numsa went to court on Thursday to try and prevent its expulsion.

The case was postponed and the CEC meeting went ahead.

The real question

Pithouse said Numsa would manage outside the African National Congress coalition.

"Numsa is a very big union with a lot of members and a lot of resources. It will definitely be able to stand on its own."

He said unions such as the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which broke away from the Cosatu-affiliated National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) had also managed to do well, outside the ANC and Cosatu.

The real question was whether Numsa's decision to launch the United Front in December this year would be a success.

Jim announced at a press briefing last month that the union's decision to form the United Front was first announced in December 2013 during a special Numsa national congress.

At the time, Jim said the move was not a sign that the union was leaving Cosatu and venturing out on its own. He said Numsa would defend the trade union federation at all costs.

The launch of the United Front had been a subject of discussion at Cosatu for many years, he told reporters.

Whether or not the United Front would succeed, depended on whether the union could make a real connection with different struggles of the people in South Africa, Pithouse said.

"If they connect with people on the ground it could work, not with NGOs."

He said there was a concern that Numsa only talked about the interests of the working class when so many South Africans were unemployed.

"Numsa will have to broaden its conception."

Read more on:    cosatu  |  numsa  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  jacob zuma  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  irvin jim  |  politics

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.