Numsa to take Cosatu to court

Numsa is challenging Zwelinzima Vavi's suspension saying it was unconstitutional.

FILE: Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim speaks to reporters after a meeting of the trade union's central committee in Johannesburg, Thursday, 18 August 2011. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President Sdumo Dlamini says news that the National Union of Metalworkers South Africa (Numsa) has filed legal papers in the South Gauteng High Court against the trade union federation has taken him by surprise.

Numsa is challenging Cosatu's General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi's suspension saying it was unconstitutional.

However, Dlamini says he's not aware that the trade union federation has been served with legal papers by its largest affiliated union.

But Numsa's Karl Cloete says Dlamini is spinning the media.

"The Cosatu president must not say he is surprised because they [Cosatu] also have instructed their attorney to respond to us."

Vavi was placed on special leave three weeks ago following a decision taken by Dlamini and the trade union federation's top brass for bringing the party into disrepute.

The secretary general admitted to having an affair with a junior employee at the Cosatu headquarters in January.

Cloete says Numsa simply can't stand by.

"We were not satisfied with how they are stealing democracy in broad daylight."

At the same time, Numsa says it does not take pleasure in taking Cosatu to court challenging the Vavi decision, but has been left with no other option.

Cloete added it has been a "painful" decision to take its own to court, but has an obligation to take action.

"If people think we'll turn the other cheek we'll never do that. It's open warfare and everyone will be coming for us and we're ready to receive them."