Johannesburg - The application by the National Union of Metal Workers of SA (Numsa) to prevent the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) possibly expelling it was postponed by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The court was hearing augment in an application by Numsa for an urgent interdict to prevent Cosatu from expelling it at a special central executive committee (CEC) meeting on Friday.
Judge Brian Mashile ordered that the matter be enrolled and postponed sine die (at a date to be arranged). An order on costs was reserved.
This meant the CEC meeting, at which Numsa's fate was expected to be decided, would go ahead on Friday.
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The court heard that Numsa is using delaying tactics by trying to get an urgent interdict to prevent its possible expulsion by Cosatu.
"They [the National Union of Metal Workers of SA] say they are entitled to additional information and will be prejudiced," Pearce Roodt SC, for Cosatu, said.
"That is not correct and is a tactic by them to delay the process."
Owen Cook SC, for Numsa, said he would argue one key point, which was that Cosatu did not give Numsa proper details of the charges against the union and so it was unable to defend itself properly.
However, Roodt said Numsa received a letter from Cosatu in February in which the charges levelled against it were listed.
The letter referred to Numsa's special congress held in December where it took the decision not to support the African National Congress in the general elections, which went against Cosatu's constitution.
Roodt said Numsa had had almost a year to address the matter.
"They've had since March and waited till October 31 [to come to court] and expect everyone to bounce, despite unreasonable times.
"Literally two court days are afforded to the respondent [Cosatu]... and does not warrant the urgent basis that they call for.
Abuse of process
"It is self-created urgency... it's an abuse of the process."
He asked for the matter to be struck off the roll.
Martin Brassey SC, for the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union, the National Union of Mineworkers, and the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union, echoed Roodt's sentiments that the matter was not urgent.
He said the matter was not a disciplinary one, despite Numsa claiming it was, but rather an administrative and "quasi-political" one.
This meant Cosatu was not obligated to hand over a formal charge sheet but rather debate the matter in the CEC and make a decision.
Brassey said even if it was a disciplinary matter Numsa would have to wait for its conclusion before it asked the court to intervene.