Cosatu is not dead, says Dlamini

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim shares a laugh with suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on the second day of the metalworkers’ union special congress at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim shares a laugh with suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on the second day of the metalworkers’ union special congress at the Birchwood Hotel in Johannesburg. (Muntu Vilakazi, City Press)

Johannesburg- Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini on Tuesday took a swipe at former leaders of the trade union federation who criticised it for expelling the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

"Get off Cosatu, stay away from Cosatu," he said during a briefing in Johannesburg.

Dlamini was referring to former Cosatu general secretaries Mbhazima Shilowa and Jay Naidoo.

Both had taken to social networking site Twitter to express their disappointment with the Congress of SA Trade Unions decision to expel Numsa.

In response to a comment that it was an end of an era and that Cosatu was dead, Dlamini said a new era was starting too.

"A new era is beginning too, we are here to lead the federation under these difficult times...."

Numsa was expelled at a special central executive committee (CEC) meeting which ran into the early hours of Saturday morning.

Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said all of the trade union federation's structures had to accept the decision to oust Numsa.

"The decision to expel Numsa is a CEC decision and is binding on all the structures of the federation and its leaders," he said. "All [are] expected to observe it without exception."

On Monday seven unions - the SA Commercial Clothing and Allied Workers' Union, the Communication Workers' Union, the SA State and Allied Workers' Union, the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA, the SA Football Players' Union, the Food and Allied Workers Union and the Democratic Nurses' Organisation of SA vowed to have the expulsion reversed.

They said they would also not participate in Cosatu's CEC meetings. Ntshalintshali said Cosatu would convene meetings at all of its structural levels to explain the CEC's decision.

He said Numsa was advised that it could appeal against its expulsion, to Cosatu's national congress.The next national congress is expected to be held in September next year.

He said the decision to expel Numsa was not taken lightly.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was not present, with spokesperson Norman Mampane saying Vavi was "consulting his lawyers".  

READ:
Vavi no show at Cosatu briefing
 
More unions quit Cosatu's exec body
Watershed moment for labour relations
Numsa expulsion binding on all affiliates

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