Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini has conceded to a call by eight Cosatu unions for a special national congress.
A special central executive committee (CEC) meeting on Wednesday heard his report on the feasibility of holding the congress and it resolved that it would be called early next year.
The call for a special national congress came up as a result of divisions plaguing the organisation. Expelled metalworkers union Numsa spearheaded the call for the special congress and ithey repeatedly said its leaders would use the congress to “get rid” of Dlamini and those loyal to him.
The meeting on Wednesday was boycotted by seven unions that stood in solidarity with Numsa. The South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union, the South African State and Allied Workers Union, the Public and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the South African Football Players Union, the Democratic Nurses Organisation of South Africa and the Communications Workers Union have made an unequivocal call for the special congress as a remedy to Cosatu’s paralysis.
Vavi to remain in his position
An insider at the meeting said Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi would remain at the helm of the organisation and would not be removed. As things stand, he will remain in his position until his term is over next year. Cosatu’s five national office bearers, sans Vavi, would decide “what processes” Vavi would be subjected to.
Vavi holds a precarious position in the trade union federation because he publicly denounced a decision to expel Numsa earlier this month. He also faces nine charges including his affair with a subordinate.
A source at the meeting said a political discussion may resolve the tension on some issues, but on other issues Vavi may still face disciplinary action. “I think they just wanted things to calm down after the storm of Numsa’s expulsion,” the source said.
The Mail & Guardian reported last Friday, November 14, that Vavi threatened to resign from Cosatu if Numsa’s expulsion is not reversed. The meeting further decided that Cosatu’s second deputy president, Zingiswa Losi, remains in her position until her term expires next year. This was after contention was spurred when she resigned from Numsa, where she served as a shop steward, and moved to police union Popcru.
According to the Cosatu constitution, office bearers were required to be a shop steward of a Cosatu affiliate.