Samwu to decide on Vavi

The trade union will hold a meeting to decide if it should support calls for a special Cosatu congress.

Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) says it will discuss every available option before deciding on whether to join calls to hold a special Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) congress to decide on Zwelinzima Vavi's fate.

Vavi was suspended as Cosatu General Secretary earlier this month after admitting to having to having an affair with a junior employee.

He was also accused of hiring the woman through improper procedures.

On Monday, nursing union, Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa (Denosa) met to discuss the issue, but did not confirmed whether it will back calls for a special gathering.

According to Cosatu's constitution, a special congress can only be held if seven affiliates call for it.

Denosa said it has made a decision, but it will only communicate it to Cosatu through official channels.

Samwu's Tahir Sema said its meeting, which starts today, will look at every possible avenue.

"We will consider what other unions have decided. Some have decided to call for an early congress. We will consider all of this and debate each option."

The South African Football Players Union, National Union of Metalworkers South Africa and Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) have already called for a special congress.


Vavi and his allies believe his suspension forms part of a wider political plot to oust him.

He has accused Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini of distributing an intelligence report he says is full of lies about him.

But last week, Dlamini said he can't understand why Vavi and his allies are challenging his suspension because the decision was fair and democratically applied.

Fawu and other unions supporting Vavi believe he's more popular than Dlamini among ordinary Cosatu members and thus would win any vote.

Any such vote could also see Dlamini and his supporters losing their jobs.