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Vavi: Detractors fear special congress

Cosatu’s suspended general secretary says his opponents fear a loss if it goes down to a vote.

Suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Opponents in the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) are doing everything in their power to prevent a special congress from taking place, suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Tuesday.

He says those opposing the congress fear what the results could be.

Nine Cosatu-affiliated unions have formally asked for such a gathering but Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini says he still needs to work out the logistics for such a gathering.

Vavi was suspended last year after admitting to having an affair with a younger co-worker.

His supporters have called for the congress in the hope that he will be reinstated.

But at this stage, Vavi says he doesn't know if a special congress will ever happen.

"It's quite clear that my detractors inside the federation fear the congress like they fear a snake. They will do everything that they can to avoid workers having a voice."

In December, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) held its own special congress.

The country's largest union decided to withdraw support for the ANC and President Jacob Zuma.

Numsa's decision sent shockwaves through the political community.

But Vavi says he doesn't know if other unions within Cosatu will follow Numsa's lead.

He also confirmed he wouldn't accept a nomination from ANC branches to represent the ruling party in Parliament.

Vavi says he needs to focus on changing the structure of South Africa's economy through Cosatu and doesn't want to be involved in parliamentary work.

Thanks to many who accepted my decision not to go to parliament. I accept many who wanted me to go were genuine, but know too some weren't