Cosatu puts Vavi charges on ice

2014-11-20 16:25

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Cosatu has put on hold charges against its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to allow for a process facilitated by the ANC to try and find a political solution to the current impasse in the labour federation.

The ANC-led process will also include the possible reinstatement of metalworkers union Numsa, which was expelled from Cosatu after a highly charged meeting of its central executive committee two weeks ago.

On the agenda at yesterday’s meeting was an update on the disciplinary process against Vavi, stemming mainly out of his sexual affair with a junior employee who has since been dismissed. Vavi is also facing charges involving possible financial irregularities related to the sale of the Cosatu building and for violating conditions of his suspension after the sex scandal became public.

Vavi and Cosatu President S’dumo Dlamini tried to show a face of unity today whilst addressing a post-CEC media briefing, insisting that no formal decision had been taken to reinstate the charges against Vavi.

“Information peddlers have gone out of their way to spread untruths about the fact that the Cosatu special CEC reinstated charges against the Cosatu general secretary. Nothing could be further from the truth,” read Vavi from a statement outlining the outcomes of yesterday’s meeting.

Numsa’s expulsion has thrown Cosatu into an unprecedented crisis. Seven of its affiliates have suspended their participation in the federation and have lodged a court challenge to force Dlamini to organise a special national congress. The affiliates also boycotted yesterday’s special CEC.

Dlamini presented a report to the CEC which endorsed technically the call for a special national congress. He said, however, that it was too late in the year to organise it and they would engage all affiliates to see if it cannot be combined with Cosatu’s scheduled September 2015 congress and be moved to an earlier date next year.

“We shall be engaging them to see that how do we merge the two together. Next year we have a national congress; can we afford to have two national congresses in the same year? The CEC would see that that is a challenge,” said Dlamini.

Meanwhile, Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi retains her position as a national officer bearer after the CEC found that there was nothing wrong with her moving from Numsa where she was a shopsteward to taking up a similar position in police union Popcru.

Losi’s status as a Cosatu national office bearer has been questioned by unions supporting Numsa who insist that anyone holding such a position in Cosatu must have been an elected shopsteward or office bearer in their union.

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