Cosatu has claimed in a statement that its national office bearers had not been invited to address metalworkers’ union Numsa’s special conference which started in Boksburg today. “Although it is not a constitutional requirement, it has been the custom and practice for years for the national office bearers to be invited to address Numsa and other affiliates’ congresses and other important meetings,” Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said in a statement. He said Cosatu hoped the union had a “thorough debate on the critical issues on their agenda, guided by the founding principles of the union and the federation”. Numsa convened the conference to decide whether to break away from Cosatu over its unhappiness about the suspension of general secretary Zwelinzina Vavi after it came to light he had sex with a woman he had appointed to work for Cosatu. The union also elected a new president to replace Cedric Gina, who resigned last month, apparently because of unease over Numsa’s anti-Cosatu stance. Craven said Cosatu sent “greetings” to Numsa’s conference. Numsa earlier claimed on Eyewitness News that Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini was invited to address the conference, but he did not respond and was therefore not placed on the programme. Vavi will, however, address the union’s Mthutuzeli Tom lecture tomorrow night, which is usually held in the Eastern Cape but which was moved to the conference in a special concession. On the programme it is indicated that former Port Elizabeth mayor Zanoxolo Wayile was to have given the lecture.