Ngwako Modjadji
2 minute read
15 Aug 2013
5:17 am

Cosatu suspend Vavi

Ngwako Modjadji

Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been suspended from the federation, two sources said last night.

FILE PICTURE: Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: AFP

The sources, who were not in the special meeting of the federation’s central executive committee (CEC) but who are privy to discussions inside the unions, told The Citizen that Vavi is going to face disciplinary action for the bringing the federation into disrepute.

Cosatu’s top brass are to hold a media briefing today to formally announce Vavi’s suspension with immediate effect.

The CEC members were locked in a special meeting yesterday to discuss his fate. The CEC, which comprises officials from Cosatu affiliates and the labour federation’s provincial leaders, have the power to vote to expel, suspend or retain Vavi.

The knives have been out for Vavi since he admitted to having an affair with a 26-year-old woman he appointed to work at Cosatu House, the federation’s headquarters in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.

Vavi’s suspension comes hot on the heels of the suspension of SA Democratic Teachers’ Union president Thobile Ntola on Tuesday night, for allowing Vavi to address the union’s meeting in the Eastern Cape just days after the sex scandal was exposed.

Last night Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven would neither confirm or deny that Vavi had been suspended.

It is understood that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), which has declared its support for Vavi, is considering breaking away from Cosatu if the outcome of the meeting is not in Vavi’s favour.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim described the CEC meeting as unconstitutional, saying it could not take any decisions.

“We attended the meeting in protest because that meeting was hastily convened. They refused to postpone the meeting,” he said.

Numsa had called for the meeting to be cancelled because it failed to meet the federation’s constitutional requirements. There are allegations that the special meeting was called by deputy general-secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali and not by Vavi, who is constitutionally mandated to do so.

Jim added that Numsa national office bearers would meet today to reflect on the CEC and discuss the way forward. Numsa, one of the biggest Cosatu affiliates, had pushed for the meeting to be postponed to the scheduled one in September.

Vavi’s phone was on voicemail when he was contacted for comment.