Writing on the wall for Cosatu - Vavi

2015-06-09 21:09
Zwelinzima Vavi. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Foto24)

Zwelinzima Vavi. (Lisa Hnatowicz, Foto24) ((Lisa Hnatowicz, Foto24))

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Johannesburg - Expelled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi warned that the union federation would change completely after the High Court in Johannesburg dismissed an application by Numsa to appeal its expulsion at Cosatu's Special National Congress next month.

''They have said so in public that they want to dismantle the old Cosatu as we have known it - they want a new federation,'' said Vavi outside the court after Judge Mandla Mbongwe ruled that Numsa's application to be allowed to attend Cosatu's Special National Congress (SNC) in July was not urgent.

Cosatu's credentials process begins on Wednesday and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) had hoped to be allowed back into the fold at the SNC to state its case, and that the case of Vavi's expulsion also be heard at the SNC.

'The writing is on the wall'

"That's why I'm saying, the writing is on the wall. It is very clear a new federation will be born on the 13th of July [at the SNC] when 365 000 workers are excluded, and only those who accept that as a norm [will be present].

''In my view. I can't see it in any other way. A new federation will have been born on that day.''

He said union solidarity would be put to the test when the SNC is held on July 13 and 14 without Numsa, which was expelled from the union federation in November last year.

A disappointed Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the point of the SNC was to discuss unity and cohesion in the federation.

''And we have been very firm that there can't be unity and cohesion of the federation when Numsa and eight unions are out of the federation,'' said Jim, whose union had been operating as a stand-alone since its expulsion.

He felt that Mbongwe had been ''hostile'' towards Numsa, leaving the metalworker union to go to the next Cosatu conference in November to state its case.

At the November conference, he feared that only himself and Numsa president Andrew Chirwa would have a say, and that this undermined the metalworkers' voices.

'They fear the mass of metalworkers'

He said that Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini did not want Numsa in Cosatu.

''The reason they don't want us there [at the SNC], they want to elect themselves. They fear the mass of metalworkers.''

He believed that the new metalworkers union in Cosatu, the Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA, would be accepted in Cosatu because they were ''tamed metalworkers'' who would not take up the issues that affect the working class or the poor.

The ruling also meant that Vavi's expulsion could not be put to Cosatu members. Vavi said previously that he would only want his expulsion heard by a ''legitimate'' congress.

Cosatu had opposed the application to hear the matter urgently.

There was a possibility that another union could raise their case at the SNC, but Numsa would have to go back to the drawing board and ask its members what to do, Jim said.

Earlier Mbongwe said that Numsa had had - since its expulsion in November, and another opportunity in February, when an attempt at appealing did not happen - time to make the application.

''I have come to the conclusion that this matter is not urgent,'' said Mbongwe, to sighs of disappointment from the Numsa supporters in the public gallery.

Numsa also had to pay the costs of two counsel.

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

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