Cosatu's leaders back behind closed doors

If Numsa is expelled, it may be the beginning of a process that sees the federation splitting as a whole.

Cosatu's Johannesburg headquarters. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Leaders of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu's) are now back behind closed doors as they're expected to vote soon on whether to expel their biggest affiliate the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

Numsa has been accused of undermining Cosatu after it said it would no longer support the African National Congress (ANC).

They are now back in the main meeting room on the first floor of Cosatu House but it's not known if they've started casting their ballots yet.

Most Cosatu unions have been strongly critical of Numsa which means it seems likely that vote will be to remove the union from the federation.

That could kick-start big changes in politics as other unions could follow Numsa which also says it wants to create a worker's party to take on the ANC.

If Numsa is expelled, it may be the beginning of a process that sees the federation splitting as a whole.

On Wednesday, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said the ANC wanted Cosatu to stay united.

There is a chance that perhaps he or even President Jacob Zuma himself could try intervene again in this situation but they may also know that these divisions are so deep-seated and the only way to resolve them is for Numsa to leave Cosatu.