Stay away from Vavi, Cosatu warns members

2015-03-31 17:01

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Cosatu has warned staff members against entertaining “Vavi-led activities” and formally turned its back on metalworkers union Numsa by admitting newcomer Limusa to the federation.

Speaking to media at Cosatu house in Braamfontein today, the federation outlined the reasons that went into the final dismissal of their general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi – who served it for 16 years.

Cosatu cited his refusal to participate in a number of essential meetings, addressing the media without being mandated to do so and a number of other acts which they say have violated the code of conduct of the union and brought it into disrepute, as grounds for his dismissal.

Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi said she wanted to make it clear the union was not “leaderless” as Vavi’s duties will now be taken over by the deputy secretary general Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Losi confirmed that Vavi was voted out at a special CEC meeting yesterday where 31 out of 32 voted – by secret ballot – in favour of his dismissal. She said he had been formally notified of the action taken against him.

Vavi has been advised that he can appeal his dismissal – according to Cosatu’s constitution  at the national congress.

Ntshalintshali also used the opportunity to warn any staff members and provincial secretaries of the federation against engaging with Vavi on Cosatu matters.

“He must henceforth stop speaking on behalf of the federation as he is no longer the general secretary of Cosatu,” Ntshalintshali said.

He suggested that action may be taken against those who insisted on helping set up platforms for Vavi to address members or those who encouraged the platforms by attending them.

Hot on the agenda of the presser was also addressing the legitimacy of the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA (Limusa).

Limusa was formed last year by former Numsa president Cedric Gina, who opposed Numsa’s decision to refrain from campaigning for the ANC in last year’s general election.

Losi said that it was decided at yesterday’s special CEC meeting that Limusa would be admitted into the federation.

She said the federation had satisfied themselves that the group met all of the requirements laid out by the constitution and that there was no conflict of interest. Following the expulsion of Numsa last year, there was currently no other union in the federation that is under the same scope of Limusa.

The group also rubbished claims that Limusa only had 1600 members. They claimed the union’s numbers are currently at more than 5000.

Numsa’s membership is in the region of 340 000.

The federation will host a special national congress in July and the CEC would decide when to have an ordinary congress.

The special national congress – which has been requested by the five rebel unions – will not replace the ordinary national congress which takes place later in the year.

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