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Jim won't give details on Zuma meeting

Numsa's Irvin Jim has confirmed he met with President Jacob Zuma last year.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim. Picture: Sebabatso Mosam/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Irvin Jim has now confirmed meeting President Jacob Zuma last year, but has refused to confirm whether he asked Zuma to make Zwelinzima Vavi his deputy in the ANC.

On Monday, Cedric Gina resigned as president of Numsa saying members must stand up for their organisation.

He said he disagreed with the direction the 350,000-strong union was heading in.

His resignation comes as it appears Numsa is preparing to leave the tripartite alliance and possibly the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu).

The union will hold a special conference next month to decide whether to withdraw its support for the ANC.

Gina claimed Jim wanted to take Numsa out of the alliance because Zuma had refused his request.

But Jim said while he did meet with Zuma ahead of the ANC's Mangaung conference, he said the meeting had no political agenda.

"It wasn't an opportunistic meeting as reported."

But Jim refused to elaborate on what was discussed in the meeting.

"We will protect that meeting and what ensued in relation to that."

He is adamant that no final decision has been made on whether or not Numsa will withdraw its support for the ANC.

Gina's resignation appears to be proof that the union is divided on the issue of leaving the alliance.

HINT AT COSATU EXIT

Meanwhile, Jim has given what could be the strongest hint yet that his union is planning to leave Cosatu.

Jim summed up Numsa's relationship with Cosatu quite carefully.

"If we leave Cosatu it will be the last resort. Numsa has a duty to do everything to ensure workers in this country remain united. I guess if you get married, you can get divorced."

He also suggested that Gina is doing someone else's bidding.

"I know Cedric and it's very difficult to believe that this is him speaking."

Jim said Numsa's final decision about its future is up to its members.