Sadtu urges members to support Vavi suspension

Suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Gallo)

Suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. (Gallo)

The South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) has urged its members to support the decision taken by Cosatu to suspend its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.

"Sadtu should support the decision of CEC [central executive committee] in suspending both the general secretary and the staff member of Cosatu," the union said in a declaration after its national general council held at the weekend.

"Sadtu denounces the action by some Cosatu affiliated unions to take Cosatu to court and Sadtu should further vow to stand firmly in defence of Cosatu under [the] current leadership."

In August, Cosatu announced that Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee.

In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Following Vavi's suspension, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), an ally of his, lodged an application in the high court in Johannesburg challenging Vavi's suspension.

Vavi then lodged papers to be added as an applicant in Numsa's challenge.

Institute disciplinary proceedings
In September, Vavi said he was asking the court to grant him an interim order interdicting and restraining Cosatu from enforcing any decision taken at its CEC meeting last month.
He also wanted final relief to review and set aside the decision to suspend him and institute disciplinary proceedings.

Sadtu, in its national general council declaration, said it condemned signs of "tribalism" that seemed to accompany those in Cosatu who were protecting Vavi.

The union also denounced the call for a special Cosatu congress.

Last month, Cosatu announced it was considering holding a special national congress in response to written requests submitted by nine affiliates.

In a letter leaked to the media earlier this month, Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini said: "I want to emphasise my commitment to respect and uphold the Cosatu constitution at all times ... I understand the mandate that I was given ... and I am committed to convene the special national congress as directed to do so."

He said in the letter that available resources, possible venues, dates and the agenda of the conference were still being assessed. – Sapa

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