Court orders Dlamini to convene Cosatu special congress in July

2015-05-11 13:54
Tensions in Cosatu have been linked to the fallout between Zwelinzima Vavi and Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: Jabu Kumalo/Daily Sun

Tensions in Cosatu have been linked to the fallout between Zwelinzima Vavi and Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: Jabu Kumalo/Daily Sun

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The South Gauteng High Court has granted an order compelling Cosatu to hold a special national congress after nine affiliates approached the court.

Judge Francis Legodi handed down his declaratory order in favour of nine unions – including the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), and the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa), representing a third of the Congress of SA Trade Unions’ affiliates – ending a dispute running into almost two years. In terms of the order, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini is forced to convene the special congress in July.

Denosa spokesperson Sibongiseni Delihlazo said Dlamini was ordered to send out a notice of the congress before the end of this month. Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali did not respond to requests for comment.

Numsa first called for a special congress in 2013 to deal with a “crisis” of factionalism and a failure to focus on worker issues in the federation.

Dlamini refused to convene the congress, only yielding at the federation’s central executive committee meeting in November last year, proposing a date in July this year. But this would have to take into account the availability of venues and the fact that the federation’s central committee was due to be held during the same year.

Numsa was expelled from the federation the same night of the central executive committee meeting for violating Cosatu’s constitution. 

Numsa, unconvinced with Dlamini’s promise to convene the special congress in July, later filed court papers to compel him to do so. It was joined by seven other unions, and the list later grew to nine.

Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola welcomed the ruling. “We feel vindicated, and this declaratory court order firms up a date and compels Cosatu’s president to convene this congress,” he said. 

“That is our victory because we’ve waited for 18 months already! There won’t be excuses, either of resources or logistics, that will stand in the way, and failure to convene this congress will then be a contempt of court.”
Read more on:    cosatu  |  cosatu congress  |  sdumo dlamini  |  johannesburg

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