Unions want heads to roll in Cosatu

Nine unions supporting Zwelinzima Vavi want Cosatu leaders to resign so fresh elections can take place.

Nine unions supporting Zwelinzima Vavi want Cosatu leaders to resign so fresh elections can take place. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Nine unions on Friday called for the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s national office bearers (NOBs) to resign from their posts.

This after the South Gauteng High Court overturned the federation's decision to suspended Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

The Johannesburg court ruled Vavi's suspension from office was invalid and unlawful because affiliates hadn't voted when the decision was taken, as mandated in Cosatu's constitution.

The general secretary was placed on special leave by Cosatu's Central Executive Committee last year after admitting to having sex with a junior employee.

The National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa), one of Vavi's most vocal supporters, accused the federation of losing its way.

Numsa Deputy General Secretary Karl Cloete says a special congress must be convened urgently so elections can take place.

"Let's do fresh elections so workers put their confidence into those that they believe can take the federation forward."

He says all NOBs will have to resign before this takes place.

Every three years, Cosatu holds a national congress where the six NOBs are elected.

The NOB consists of the president, two deputies, the general secretary and one deputy, and the national treasurer.

This means Vavi himself would have to step down and stand for re-election, but Numsa appears confident he will retain power.

The union says it's given Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini until the end of Friday to convene a congress or appoint a convenor.

If he fails to do so, Numsa says it will go ahead with further court action.

Dlamini pictured at the federation's 11th national congress, 17 September 2012. Picture: Sapa.

Meanwhile, Noluthando Vavi, who stayed by his side since the affair first surfaced, on Friday questioned who was behind the plot to suspend her husband.

@NeilColemanSA @Zwelinzima1 thanks cde Neil justice is done the struggle continues.

She says today's judgment raised more questions than answers, admitting that she can't understand why her husband's comrades have turned against him.

Noluthando says the family wants Vavi back in office at Cosatu House, but also insisted a special congress must first be convened.

"Cosatu will never be the same without him," she says, adding, "The workers have spoken - they want a special congress."