Crucial Cosatu talks continue

Leaders are locked in private talks on suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s future.

Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is seen at a news conference in Johannesburg on 29 May 2013. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - There has been no official word from Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s Central Executive Committee (CEC) late on Monday afternoon.

The trade union federation's leaders are locked in private talks to discuss suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi's future.

Vavi was suspended after he admitted to having sex with a younger worker.

While it seems Vavi will have enough unions to call for a special Cosatu congress, in this CEC meeting it seems his enemies have more votes than his allies.

It's thought Cosatu President S'dumo Dlamini could now push for his expulsion.

Dlamini already claims Vavi broke the terms of his suspension by speaking to striking workers last week.

This could lay the basis for any attempt to oust him permanently.

Political analyst Ralph Mathekga says Cosatu is already badly damaged.

"At this point, I don't even know if Cosatu still exists as a federation because what we are observing is a conglomeration of affiliates speaking their own languages and pulling in either direction."

He adds the federation should be rethinking its entire strategy at this point.

"Cosatu as a federation, as a single voice, I think is dissipating on a daily basis. At this point, they should be thinking about how they can reconstitute the federation," Mathekga says.

Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are already taking Cosatu to court over his suspension.

That decision may also harden attitudes against him.

The CEC meeting is scheduled to last until Wednesday.