'Vavi's suspension was unconstitutional'

Zwelinzima Vavi's lawyers say he wasn't afforded an opportunity to reply to allegations against him.

Zwelinzima Vavi's lawyers say he wasn't afforded an opportunity to reply to allegations against him. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The legal counsel representing Zwelinzima Vavi in his bid to have his suspension from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) lifted says the process that removed him was unconstitutional.

Advocate Dup de Bruyn told the High Court in Johannesburg today that a longstanding process of taking decisions without voting means the true will of Cosatu's members was never expressed in suspending Vavi, a move he describes as utter nonsense.

Vavi's challenge to his suspension centres on Cosatu's decision not to vote despite the federation's affiliates being divided on the matter.

Cosatu's national office bearers have argued they only vote if there are two motions tabled and in the absence of this, a longstanding practice is accepted.

De Bruyn says the union that tabled the motion, the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union, also agreed to a vote, and he's further argued that the outcome of this could have changed the decision of the Central Executive Committee.

Vavi's legal team is also arguing that the suspended leader was not afforded an opportunity to reply to allegations against him.