Vavi stood no chance: Jim

2015-04-01 09:14
Zwelinzima Vavi (Loanna Hoffmann, Beeld)

Zwelinzima Vavi (Loanna Hoffmann, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - Ousted Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi stood no chance and should accept his expulsion and move on.

These are the sentiments of National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim following Vavi's expulsion from the trade union federation.

"There was no way they were going to spare Zwelinzima Vavi," he told News24.

"We think that with the current crop of leadership [in Cosatu], which has demonstrated low levels of consciousness... it is a waste of time to try and fight and put him [Vavi back] there.

"To get back there to do what?,"Jim asked.

Expelled for being honest

Vavi was expelled on Monday evening following a vote at Cosatu's special central executive committee (CEC) meeting, which he had boycotted. Thirty-one CEC members reportedly voted for his expulsion while one person voted against it.

Jim said Vavi was expelled for being honest about the crisis Cosatu faced, especially financially, since the expulsion of the metalworkers union.

Numsa was contributing almost a million rand a month to Cosatu in affiliation fees.

Vavi has boycotted Cosatu's central executive committee meetings since Numsa's expulsion.

When Vavi was suspended from Cosatu in August 2013, Numsa defended Vavi and fought his suspension in court. The South Gauteng High Court overturned Vavi's suspension and he returned to work last year.

Vavi had been suspended, for among other things, having an affair with a junior employee and allegations of fraud relating to the selling and buying of Cosatu's headquarters.

Last year November, Numsa was expelled from the Cosatu for resolutions the metalworkers union took at its special national congress in December 2013. The resolutions included not supporting the African National Congress in the general elections and expanding its scope.

Looking on the positive side, Jim said Vavi's expulsion from Cosatu now freed him to focus on workers campaigns and helping Numsa, which has expanded its scope, to recruit members.

"He has no choice on the matter, he is dismissed," he said chuckling.

Internal battles

It was time for workers to focus on the campaigns adopted at Cosatu's last national congress which had been forgotten because of the internal battles raging on for almost three years.

Jim blamed this on current Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini.

"There is nothing more dangerous, which I think workers must learn and we must all learn from this... [than] to allow people who have absolutely no politics and elevate them, with low levels of consciousness like Sidumo, to a serious position of president of the federation.

"I am convinced that Sidumo has not moved an inch in grappling to understand a complex organisation called Cosatu. I think Sidumo remains a nurse as he was a nurse," said Jim.

He said Numsa would continue to fight its own expulsion from Cosatu. The metalworkers union has lodged papers in court to have its expulsion overturned. The union also wants the court to force Cosatu to hold a special national congress.

Special national congress

A group of unions, that are still Cosatu affiliates and backed Vavi and Numsa, have also called on the federation to hold a special national congress.

Jim called on those unions to support Vavi now that he was unemployed.

However, he did not want to pre-empt how the group would approach the issue.

"They have a huge task at their disposal to reflect and that's a democratic process... the writing is on the wall that the Cosatu they know is no longer that Cosatu," Jim said.

Jim added that the union has grown from 240 000 to 264 000 members since it was expelled from Cosatu.

"I think Numsa remains very resolute, remains very focused we are not sidetracked.

"We are forging ahead to implement our special national congress resolutions. Our members are beginning to champion Numsa resolutions in all nine provinces on their own and they are gaining political confidence," he said.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  numsa  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  irvin jim  |  politics  |  labour

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