More uncertainty as Cosatu decides to dismiss beleaguered Vavi

2015-03-31 00:00

COSATU decided by 31 votes to one yesterday to dismiss its popular but beleaguered secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi.

The alternative the 32-member central executive committee (CEC) voted on was to suspend him pending a disciplinary hearing.

Vavi boycotted the previous meeting of the CEC because eight of the federation’s 18 member unions stayed away in protest at the suspension of the largest union, Numsa, last November.

In an emotional media conference on Sunday, he said he would not attend yesterday’s meeting where he was expected to explain his actions.

“If they fire me, so be it. I will not give them the pleasure of resigning,” he said.

The CEC spent all day locked in debate before starting to vote at 5.30 pm.

Cosatu’s step is a severe setback to the ANC, which has been trying hard for the past year to prevent a schism in the federation.

Party secretary-general Gwede Mantashe, who was a Cosatu leader for years in his role at the helm of the National Union of Mineworkers, said yesterday it would be easy to get rid of Vavi, but the question remained what would follow.

“The problems in Cosatu are not different from those it had in the 1980s,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“The problem is limited experience by leaders to manage a federal organisation with different views. What Numsa is doing is not different from what it did in the 1980s.”

He said Cosatu’s leaders were hellbent on destroying each other and would collapse the federation in the process.

“You can’t slaughter the beast and hope that you will get more. You don’t collapse an organisation with the intention of growing it … it will disappear instead.

“You don’t facilitate a walk-away. I don’t remember Numsa in its life winning an ideological debate.”

Mantashe also criticised Vavi’s airing on Sunday of Cosatu’s financial problems.

He said its monthly income had fallen by R11 million when Numsa, with 365 000 members, was suspended.

Cosatu apparently had to dip into its political fund in February and March to pay staff.

“It is very dangerous to air an organisation’s financial affairs because you have problems with it, particularly if you are the CEO. I imagine they couldn’t have taken money from the political fund without Vavi’s knowledge.”

The ANC received a report at its quarterly national executive committee meeting from a task team set up to try to mend Cosatu’s rifts. The team, led by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, was advised to continue its efforts.

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

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.