CWU backs Vavi

The Communication Workers Union confirmed its NEC has joined other unions backing Vavi.

Zwelinzima Vavi was suspended nearly a month ago after admitting to having sex with a younger Cosatu worker. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi now has the backing of six unions.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Friday confirmed to Eyewitness News that its national executive committee has joined the other unions backing Vavi.

He needs the support of seven unions in order to call for a special Cosatu congress.

Vavi was suspended in August after admitting to having sex with a younger Cosatu worker.

Acting CWU General Secretary Thabo Mogalane confirmed the decision, but refused to be interviewed on the record.

Vavi's supporters suggest Mogalane is Cosatu President S'dumo Dlamini's ally, which explains why he doesn't want to discuss the issue in public.

Dlamini appears to be at loggerheads with Vavi.

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the SA Football Players Union (SAFPU) and the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) have now confirmed they want the special congress.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) is understood to back them, but won't say so in public.

It is thought that if Vavi is able to make this congress happen, he would win a vote of ordinary Cosatu members while Dlamini may actually lose his post.

Vavi is thought to be more popular with rank and file members than he is with union leaders, which means he could survive any vote in that gathering.

Friday's decision by the CWU is a huge boost to Vavi and his supporters.

It is also proof they have momentum and could make other unions join in the dispute.

CWU Gauteng Provincial Secretary Aubrey Tshabalala says his provincial members agree with this decision.