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Fawu wants Cosatu’s Dlamini to pack his bags

In a press conference on Monday, Food and Allied Workers' Union (Fawu) general secretary Katishi Masemola accused Dlamini of unconstitutionally suspending Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, following Vavi's indiscretion with a junior staffer.

"Cosatu does not have a policy which says having sex in office is an offence. The sex scandal has made no permanent damage to the federation, but rather a redeemable dent to individuals involved," claimed Masemola.

He added that Dlamini made an autocratic decision by suspending Vavi, as the constitution of Cosatu does not empower the presiding officer to make a ruling in the presence of two motions, which were moved and seconded.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa was the other affiliate that questioned the legitimacy of the meeting, which they said did not meet the constitutional requirements.

"The only way of processing the impasse should have been through voting, which was not made an option. Therefore Dlamini’s decision in invalid, null and void,” said Masemola.

Fawu, which has 127 000 members, claims Dlamini pounced on Vavi’s mistake to finish what he started long before the 11th Cosatu Congress in 2012. As Numsa stated, Fawu also said in the three central executive committee (CEC) meetings since the congress, there has been a concerted effort to remove Vavi. The sex scandal presented an opportune time for his enemies push their agenda.

Special congress
Fawu has promised to aggressively lobby other affiliates for the convening of a Cosatu special congress to work on reclaiming the federation into a militant and campaigning trade union federation.

"The special congress is supposed to read the riot act for Cosatu leaders. We will argue that Dlamini should not be re-elected. We will push for Vavi to be re-elected."

Fawu deputy general secretary Moleko Phakedi said: "We don't know where the programme to get rid of Vavi comes from, but we can see it is there.

They [ANC leaders] want to turn Cosatu into a labour desk. We can't be hamstrung from articulating policies of the federation."

Intelligence Report
Referring to the much-talked about intelligence report that was circulated by Vavi on Friday, Fawu said it should be called "intelligence rubbish". Vavi accused Dlamini of circulating the report among the federation’s leaders in an attempt to assassinate his character and discredit him.

Fawu claims that the clumsily compiled document speaks to the organisational, political and ideological factors that some affiliates have spoken about in previous CECs.

They have called upon Minister of Intelligence Siyabonga Cwele, the public protector and the inspector general to investigate the emergence of the report. On Sunday, state security said it has no knowledge of the Vavi report and is sure South African intelligence agencies were not involved in its creation.

"We reaffirm our stay as a Cosatu affiliate; therefore we will find ways to work around the challenges revolving Vavi. We plan to organise mass meetings and rallies within our sectors and from other unions," said Masemola.

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Khuthala Nandipha
Khuthala Nandipha is a journalist for the Mail & Guardian. This involves writing about various social issues that develop and change on an hourly basis. Her interests are, in a nutshell, how South Africa and the world’s revolution affect the person on the street: “the forgotten voting citizens”, as she calls them. She loves writing, and taking photos as a way to complement her stories. She grew up on the south-east coast of East London in the Eastern Cape. She studied journalism at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. She is not new to Jo’burg, having spent the first eight years of her journalism career working for various newspapers and magazines there.

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