'Tripartite alliance not a weapon'

Zwelinzima Vavi addressed Numsa's special congress in his personal capacity yesterday.

Suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says the tripartite alliance is at a crossroads. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi spoke about the state of the tripartite alliance, which he says is at a crossroads.

Vavi addressed the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa)'s special congress in Boksburg yesterday in his personal capacity.

The congress began after it was delayed for a week due to the 10 days of national mourning for former president Nelson Mandela.

Numsa is meeting to decide its future within Cosatu and to deliberate Vavi's suspension from the trade union federation.

The metalworkers union is also deciding whether or not it will back the African National Congress (ANC) in the upcoming elections.

Vavi said the relationship between the alliance partners is at its lowest point and is only being used as a means to secure votes.

"The alliance mustn't be a weapon only for elections. It mustn't be hurryingly convened six months before the elections."

He told delegates the alliance partners must meet throughout the year and influence the economy and politics.

"The alliance must be a living organ."

Vavi also lashed out at the South African Communist Party and accused it of becoming a lapdog of the ANC.

He was suspended from Cosatu in August after he admitted to having sex with a junior employee who had initially accused him of rape.