Ngwako Modjadji
2 minute read
4 Mar 2015
11:00 am

Cosatu faces cash crunch

Ngwako Modjadji

The expulsion of National Union of Metalworkers Union of SA (Numsa) from Cosatu has left the federation on the verge of financial ruin.

FILE PICTURE: Cosatu House in Johannesburg. Picture: Michel Bega

Since its expulsion in November last year, Numsa, which has 350 000 members, has stopped paying the nearly one million rand a month in subscription fees to Cosatu.

According to Cosatu internal documents, the federation is facing a financial crisis because of the reduced income from subscriptions. Other unions may soon follow Numsa and stop paying subcriptions.

The SA Football Players’ Union; (SAFPU), SA State and Allied Workers’ Union (SASAWU), Public and Allied Workers’ Union of SA (PAWU), Food and Allied Workers Union (FAWU), Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (DENOSA, Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and the SA Commercial, Catering, and Allied

Workers’ Union (SACCAWU) are presently boycotting Cosatu’s ongoing central executive committee meeting. They are all demanding the readmission of Numsa into the Cosatu fold as a condition for “unity”.

Numsa deputy secretary Karl Cloete yesterday confirmed that his union has not paid any subscriptions to Cosatu since it was expelled.

“Numsa used to pay an affiliation fee of R900 000 each month to Cosatu,” said Cloete. “As you know we are going to court to reverse our expulsion. “If the court say we are reinstated we will pay our affiliation fee for 2015.”

Some of the Cosatu internal documents indicate that the cash crunch is so bad the labour body will soon be unable to hold necessary gatherings such as the national congress. It was also likely to struggle to pay salaries for its employees.

Disgruntled unions have been calling for a special congress, but Cosatu has been stalling, because of the costs and fear of having to reverse its decision to expel Numsa or risk a further split in the labour federation.

It costs Cosatu about R9 million to convene a special congress. The documents also show that the labour federation may be forced to replace at least six cars in the provinces with cheaper ones in a bid to cut costs.

These documents were presented to Cosatu’s finance committee a week ago and were expected to be discussed at the Cosatu’s Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting which ends today.

Asked to comment of the labour body’s finances, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini denied that the labour federation was facing a cash crunch. “No, not because of Numsa,”said Dlamini in his SMS reply.

The Citizen understands that the CEC meeting was likely to suspend general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi for alleged conflict of interests when awarding tenders, reiterate that Numsa had been expelled, and announce the newly formed Liberated Metalworkers Union of SA as an affiliate of Cosatu.