Cosatu boss playing for time

Supporters Zwelinzima Vavi will probably go to court to force a conference to go ahead.

FILE: Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - Zwelinzima Vavi's supporters are now working out what options they have to force Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) President Sdumo Dlamini to hold a special congress.

While nine unions have now written to Dlamini demanding that the conference go ahead, he said he needs to apply his mind and work out if and when it will happen.

Vavi was suspended last month after admitting to having sex with a younger Cosatu worker.

Dlamini appears to be giving every indication he is going to delay holding the conference for as long as possible.

He knows if he simply refuses to call a conference, Cosatu's constitution mandates its Central Executive Committee (CEC) to appoint a convenor to call one with its backing.

This means Vavi supporters would probably have to go to court to make the conference happen.

But even then, the unions which oppose Vavi might refuse to attend, which will mean it would not have a quorum.

If this happens, the unions which attend would probably form their own federation.


Cosatu will also investigate the possibility of adding more charges against Vavi.

The General Secretary has addressed two public gatherings since his suspension, which the federation says is not allowed in terms of his special leave.

Both meetings were held by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), a union vocal in its support for the General Secretary.

Dlamini would not elaborate on the new charges, saying the federation would not discuss charges against any employees with the media.

At the same time, Dlamini says he must first deal with a number of practicalities before deciding to go ahead with a special national congress.

The CEC was expected to announce on Thursday what action it was planning to take against Vavi.

Vavi's supporters are confident he will return to his post if the conference goes ahead.