Vavi won't give Cosatu back on a 'silver platter'

Zwelinzima Vavi addressed journalists on Sunday and said he wants to mobilise workers on the ground, but won't easily give back Cosatu. (Madelene Cronje, MG)

Zwelinzima Vavi addressed journalists on Sunday and said he wants to mobilise workers on the ground, but won't easily give back Cosatu. (Madelene Cronje, MG)

Embattled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is not resigning from Cosatu and has instead announced that he has “come to the end of the road”.

Addressing journalists on Sunday, Vavi explained that this meant he refused to “hand over Cosatu on a silver platter” and has now resolved to “go back to the trenches” and mobilise workers. 

When Cosatu’s central executive committee (CEC) meets on Monday – it will meet without its general secretary and seven of its unions. 

This is not the first time the CEC met under these fractious circumstances- however, the agenda for the two day meeting is to have Vavi respond to a litany of accusations against him with insiders predicting it would almost certainly lead to his suspension from the labour federation. 

His side of the story
Vavi used Sunday – the day before the special CEC meeting – to give his side of the story and to formally announce that he won’t be attending the meeting. 

He said his conscience would not allow him to participate in a meeting that expulled metalworkers union Numsa from Cosatu. 

At the same time he seems fully aware that his days as Cosatu general secretary are numbered. 

“If my refusal to attend the special CEC is used as a pretext to fire me, then so be it,” Vavi said. 

His plan now includes boycotting boardroom engagements and instead he would take to mobilising workers on the ground. 

“Masses on the streets are yearning for Cosatu to be relevant. The masses are saying to us, forget about suspensions and about disbandments. Forget about the dismissals.
What is at stake is a country that is not able to solve the most important challenges facing the working class,” Vavi said. 

So why isn’t Vavi resigning from Cosatu? 

He believed that his resignation is exactly what his detractors want.

“I am refusing to make it easy for those who are trying to hijack the organisation, and those (who) want to take control of the federation out of the hands of members,” he said. 

While Vavi appears to be the proverbial “gatvol”, he is open to a change of heart if things turn around within Cosatu. 

His next move would be prompted by the out come of Monday’s meeting.

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