Vavi files court papers to challenge Cosatu suspension

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi will challenge his suspension from the trade union federation in the South Gauteng High Court.

"The papers, applying for me to be added as an interested party as an applicant in the case of Numsa [National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa] versus Cosatu, were filed in court and served to all the attorneys of the relevant parties in the matter at noon today," Vavi said on Friday.

"In addition to joining the case, albeit for different reasons to those advanced by Numsa, I've also asked for immediate relief in my papers."

Vavi will challenge the decision to suspend him on the basis that Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini allegedly prejudiced himself because he circulated the supposedly fabricated intelligence report intended to smear Vavi’s name. 

Vavi will argue that a number of affiliate leaders prejudiced themselves in that they were clearly influenced by the intelligence report allegedly circulated by Dlamini.

He will also argue that Dlamini chaired the special central executive committee that suspended him, even though he publicly found him guilty of bringing the federation into disrepute.

Jeopardise the investigation
In its answering affidavit, Cosatu argues that Vavi’s reinstatement would jeopardise the investigation against him and the junior employee he admitted to having had sex with in her office.

"Having spent the bulk of my life, 15 years in the congress movement and 12 of these as Cosatu general secretary, I have taken this extraordinary decision with a heavy heart," Vavi said.

"Never did it cross my mind that one day I will be left with no choice but to use courts of law to defend my rights against an organisation I have dedicated my whole adult life building," he said.

Last month, Cosatu announced that Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to an affair he had with a junior employee.

In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said he had a consensual affair with her. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Postponed application
Numsa, an ally of Vavi, is challenging his suspension in the high court. The Food and Allied Workers' Union and South African Football Players' Union are co-applicants.

On Tuesday, Numsa's application was postponed after the high court allowed an application by seven opposing unions to intervene.

The intervening unions are the National Union of Mineworkers, the South African Democratic Teachers' Union, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the South African Transport and Allied Workers' Union, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union, the Finance Union, and the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union.

They are all Cosatu affiliates, and are opposing Numsa's application. Numsa is expected to file an opposing affidavit by October 2. – Sapa

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