9 unions take Cosatu to court again

Nine Cosatu-affiliated unions have reinstated their court case to compel the trade union federation to hold a special national congress.

“We have reinstated our court case ... as the crisis can clearly only be resolved by owners of the federation – the ordinary members of affiliates of Cosatu,” Food and Allied Workers’ Union (Fawu) deputy general secretary Moleko Phakedi told reporters in Johannesburg today, on behalf of the unions.

“We reject any moves at dismissing [general secretary Zwelinzima] Vavi from Cosatu. A special congress must attend to all the matters now raised against him.”

An application by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) for an urgent interdict to stop Cosatu holding its central executive committee (CEC) meeting on Friday, will be heard in the High Court in Johannesburg tomorrow.

The unions said the CEC would likely decide to expel Numsa at the meeting so it could “smoothly” deal with Vavi.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said the application was urgent.

“It is an urgent court application ... to the extent the court says it is not urgent we will proceed on that basis,” he said.

“We hear that if the court were to move in that direction we are likely to get the matter on the roll for March 2015. So be it, we go to March 2015.

“We have a case to make that Cosatu has been turned into a tavern with no rules.”

The unions included Numsa, Fawu, the SA Catering, Commercial and Allied Workers’ Union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA, the SA State and Allied Workers’ Union, the Communication Workers’ Union, the SA Football Players’ Union, and the Public and Allied Workers’ Union of SA.

Cloete said the SA Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) was currently appealing a high court ruling that expulsions and suspensions in the union were unlawful.

“There is an appeal against that judgment. What we can say is that we have nothing whatsoever from Samwu in writing or verbally that it is not part and parcel of the nine unions that have petitioned for the special national congress.”

Numsa and Cosatu have been at loggerheads since the trade union federation suspended Vavi. This was after a junior colleague alleged he had raped her at work. She had not reported it to police. Vavi said they had an affair.

Numsa supported Vavi during his suspension and instituted the court proceedings against Cosatu, insisting Vavi be reinstated.

At its special congress in December, Numsa decided not to support the ANC during the general elections.

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