Numsa fails in attempt to take control of Saftu

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Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi.  Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave
Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi. Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave


Attempts by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) to use the conference of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) to wrest back control lie in tatters after the majority of delegates voted against its motion to lift the suspension of four senior officials.

The defeated motion means the federation’s general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, has finally prevailed against Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim, who was one of the leaders supporting the motion to uplift the suspension.

The federation went to the polls late last night to determine whether the four officials, who include its president, Mac Chavalala, should be reinstated to their positions. But, after counting of the ballot, the motion to uplift the suspension was defeated by 43 votes.

City Press has learnt that 368 delegates voted against the upliftment of the suspension, while 325 were in favour of the suspension.

After the Electoral Commission of SA (IEC) had announced the results, Numsa dismissed them, arguing that the numbers didn’t add up. It questioned the fact that the adopted credentials of voting delegates were 707 but the IEC received 746 votes.

According to the source, the IEC later clarified the situation, saying 750 ballot papers had been printed.

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The voting came after the federation had failed to reach an agreement on the fate of the four officials since the beginning of the conference on Monday. After a deadlock, they decided to put the matter on the voting roll to determine their fate.

But, despite the motion being defeated, the four officials have again been nominated to different positions, as the term of the past leadership has ended.

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On Tuesday evening, delegates attending the second annual Saftu conference were forced to participate in two separate issues. They had to participate in the voting proceeding to the motion and in the nomination processes of the new leadership, in which the four suspended officials’ names emerged strongly.

According to sources within the federation, the failed motion means that Chavalala won’t be opening the conference as per the norm – the responsibilities will be handed over to the deputy president.

The four officials were suspended by the federation’s national executive committee in March after their attempt to suspend Vavi.

City Press understands that Chavalala has been nominated to retain the same position with Thabo Matsose, who was the second deputy president nominated to be the first deputy president. KwaZulu-Natal provincial secretary Moses Mautsoe has been nominated as the general secretary alongside Vavi.

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After the nomination of the four, the federation finds itself at cross-roads again as delegates were caught in an intense debate about whether to allow them to stand for election or not.

Sources say others argued that there were no laws stopping them from being elected as it was their constitutional right, while others who were against it argued that they were on suspension and could not stand for election.


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