Cosatu’s Numsa vote delayed

Numsa's Irvin Jim insists that the union is still firmly placed as a member of the federation.

Cosatu House in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Picture: Janice Healing/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A vote on whether to expel the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has been postponed after delegates disagreed on whether to vote today.

Cosatu's Central Executive Committee met to vote on the fate of the union following it's criticism of the federation and the withdrawal of its support for the African National Congress (ANC).

Numsa has been pressing a militant left-wing agenda after falling out with the ANC over economic and labour policy.

This latest development appears to show how seriously Cosatu leaders are taking this decision. It's the second time they have stepped back from the brink of expelling their biggest affiliate.

It seems the leaders of Cosatu realise that expelling Numsa may lead to the creation of a new workers party and could be the end of Cosatu as a united force.

That would have implications for voters and workers across the entire country. It would also appear to show that if Cosatu splits, it would be impossible to put it back together again.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim insists that the union is still firmly placed as a member of the federation.

Delegates have left Cosatu's headquarters in Braamfontein where it is expected that a separate meeting will be called to decide the fate of the federation's largest member.

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.