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Numsa head to court for Vavi

Numsa takes Cosatu to court today to try and overturn Zwelinzima Vavi's suspension.

Suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The divisions between the different factions of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) will be laid bare in court this morning as the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) tries to overturn Zwelinzima Vavi's suspension as General Secretary.

Vavi was suspended last month after admitting to having an affair with a junior employee.

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

But Vavi and his allies believe his suspension forms part of a wider political plot to oust him and have questioned the legitimacy of the meeting during which he was suspended.

While the legal action is being led by Numsa, the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) and the SA Football Players Union (Safpu) are arguing along with them in court.

Their Advocate Rafik Bhana will tell the judge that the central executive committee meeting that led to Vavi's suspension wasn't held legally.

But first he has to argue that this matter is urgent and that irreparable harm will be done to Vavi if he isn't reinstated.

Cosatu's argument opposing that motion hasn't yet been made public.

Meanwhile, Vavi says he will follow the right channels in contesting his suspension.

He addressed Numsa members during a march in Randburg on Monday.

Vavi warned his opponents he will make a comeback.

"Those people who thought they could deal with me like a fly, better go back to the drawing board again, because slowly like a machine, I'm coming."

SPECIAL COSATU CONGRESS

Since his suspension, Vavi's allies have thrown their support behind him, calling for a special Cosatu congress to be held to decide his fate.

Cosatu's constitution says such a conference can go ahead if seven unions call for it.

The Communication Workers Union, Numsa, Fawu, Safpu and the SA Municipal Workers' Union have all publically confirmed they want the special congress.

The Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA is also understood to back the special congress, 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 Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini may actually lose his post.

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