No rejoicing for Vavi as he holds bedside vigil

2014-04-06 14:00

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is due back at work tomorrow?–?but he cannot return to his desk because he is sitting at his critically injured daughter’s hospital bedside in the Eastern Cape.

Vavi was not in the South Gauteng High Court on Friday when it ruled that his suspension last September contravened Cosatu’s constitution.

He had rushed to be with his first-born, 26-year-old ­Phumeza, after a taxi she was travelling in on the R61 between Queenstown and Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape collided head-on with a bakkie on Wednesday afternoon.

Vavi said: “All I can think about is my daughter’s wellbeing. There is nothing I can do for her except to be by her bedside. I was here the whole day on Friday and I will be here today [Saturday]. I am crossing my fingers. The doctors said she was lucky not to be paralysed.”

Speaking from his daughter’s bedside at the Frere Hospital in East London, Vavi said: “It’s very tough seeing my daughter like this. She is my first-born and I am so proud of her. I am counting my lucky stars that she is alive.”

Arrive Alive spokesperson Tshepo Machaea said six people died at the scene of the crash and 11, including Phumeza, were critically injured. One person died later in hospital.

Vavi said: “I am still contemplating going to a shop stewards’ meeting in KZN [tomorrow] to celebrate with them, but it all depends on the feedback the doctors give me on this side.”

Meanwhile, Vavi might not be out of the woods yet as a special meeting of Cosatu’s central executive committee (CEC) on Tuesday could decide to suspend him again.

While Tuesday’s meeting has been convened to discuss divisions with metalworkers’ union Numsa, the federation’s leaders are also expected to use it to decide how to deal with Vavi’s court victory.

Cosatu’s first deputy president, Tyotyo James, would not comment except to say: “You’ll hear from us once the CEC has discussed it.”

But a well-placed source said the federation’s nine pro-Vavi unions had asked the CEC to dedicate the meeting to discussing arrangements for a special congress that would elect the new Cosatu leadership?–?and nothing else.

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