The suspension of Gauteng chairperson of the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) was a purge orchestrated by Cosatu leadership, the federation’s former general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, said yesterday.
Denosa suspended its Gauteng chairperson Simphiwe Gada on Wednesday night. Gada said yesterday he was suspended for expressing his personal views on Power FM about the nomination processes at Cosatu’s national congress in Midrand, which ended yesterday. Gada said he would attend a disciplinary hearing and conduct his own defence.
Denosa was one of the Cosatu affiliates that opposed Vavi’s expulsion from the federation and that later called for his reinstatement. In a telephone interview, Vavi singled out Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini as the mastermind behind the purge of Denosa leaders. He said Gada was suspended for “telling the truth”.
“It’s purging … you are suspended for a long time and later removed,” said Vavi. “Denosa leadership supported me but they have now turned against me. This is because they are in the pockets of S’dumo Dlamini.”
Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla would not say whether Gada was a delegate at the congress, but pointed out that leaders and officials of Cosatu unions were not allowed to express their personal views in the media about the processes of its elective gatherings. “Personal views about the congress can be expressed on other platforms, like taverns,” said Pamla.
“Vavi was expelled and Denosa is a Cosatu affiliate. There is no need for us to respond to what he says.” Denosa’s Gauteng secretary Dimakatso Sebopa was not available for comment.
There was a tense debate at the congress yesterday about whether Cosatu took the right decision in expelling Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa). Some unions, including the Food and Allied Workers’ Union, argued that both expulsions were illegitimate. In an open vote 904 delegates supported the decision to expel Numsa, one delegate abstained and 67 others opposed it.
Vavi’s expulsion was endorsed by 1 183 delegates, 87 others voted against it and 27 abstained.