Numsa expects Cosatu suspension or expulsion

The union says it believes Cosatu is preparing to take serious action against it.

Numsa and other affiliates in support of Vavi address media outside the South Gauteng High Court ON 4 April 2014. Picture: Govan Whittles/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa (Numsa) said it could be suspended or expelled from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) at its special central committee meeting which starts today.

The meeting could also see discussions about whether Cosatu should try to suspend its general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi for a second time.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said they believed Cosatu was now preparing to take serious action against his union.

"We think they would want to suspend or expel Numsa."

Yesterday, health and education workers union, Nehawu, said Cosatu must surgically remove Numsa and other enemies from the federation.

But Numsa has the support of eight other unions and if they are expelled, it could be the beginning of the end for Cosatu as we know it.

Meanwhile, Vavi on Monday described his suspension as a complete waste of eight months.

He said he could have spent that time helping the working class.

The general secretary on Monday returned to work for the first time after the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday ruled his suspension was invalid and unlawful.

Vavi was placed on special leave in August after admitting to a having an affair with a junior employee.

The trade union federation has since been split between those for and against his suspension.

As he prepares to come face to face with his political opponents in a top-level Cosatu meeting this morning, Vavi says he doesn't believe he will be suspended for a second time.

But Numsa says it still believes this meeting will be used to try and suspend or expel it from the Cosatu.

Last week, the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg said Vavi's suspension was illegal and restored him to his office.

This is expected to be a difficult meeting as the firebrand politician will be in the same room with the group of people who tried to suspend him.

"Even if they use the court proceedings or try to sneak it in, and without giving me an opportunity it would be unfair and illegal."

However, the real fight could be over Numsa's future.

If it is suspended it could decide to leave Cosatu for good, taking eight other unions with it.