Cosatu discusses Numsa expulsion

Cosatu’s CEC is expected to continue today, with discussions on whether it should expel Numsa.

FILE. Cosatu’s CEC is expected to continue today, with discussions on whether it should expel Numsa. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s Central Executive Committee (CEC) is expected to resume its discussion this morning about whether it should expel the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), after asking the union to explain why it should remain in the federation.

Union leaders decided late on Wednesday they would press ahead with a conversation about the African National Congress (ANC)'s task team report into Cosatu.

That report found an overwhelming consensus among unions that Numsa had broken Cosatu's rules by withdrawing its support for the ANC.

While officials won't talk on the record, it's understood that as soon as this discussion about Numsa officially started, one union immediately called for it to be expelled.

It appears this was then seconded before Numsa was asked to explain why it should remain within Cosatu.

At that point the meeting was adjourned.

If it picks up at this point this morning, there could well be a vote that might go against Numsa.

Time is running out for the union's opponents; they've complained about its behaviour since December while Numsa has continued to criticise other Cosatu leaders and the ANC.

Numsa's opponents may also feel they need to expel the union before before Cosatu's CEC.

Otherwise it would have the biggest delegation at that meeting and possibly be able to hijack it.

It now seems the moment at which Numsa could be expelled is drawing closer and that could also be the end of Cosatu as a major political force.

However, the ANC has reportedly opposed any exit from Cosatu by Numsa and says its expulsion was not even on the agenda of the federation's CEC meeting.

It's been widely speculated that leaders opposed to Numsa's criticism of the tripartite alliance will move to have the largest affiliate suspended.

But the ANC's Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa told Parliament on Wednesday that all the other Cosatu affiliates have backed the alliance.