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Political paralysis within Cosatu continues

Cosatu & union leaders have for a second time adjourned before voting on whether to expel Numsa.

FILE. Cosatu's Dumisani Dakile. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - The political paralysis within the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) now looks set to continue for at least a few more weeks, after its leaders decided to again put on hold a vote to expel its biggest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

It's understood the trade union federation's Central Executive Committee (CEC) was about to vote on the issue when it suddenly decided to adjourn until next month.

Union leaders stepped back from the brink for a second time on Thursday night, as they again decided not to vote on whether to expel the metalworkers union.

But it's unclear as to what this adjournment will actually achieve.

Numsa has repeatedly refused to change its decision to withdraw support from the African National Congress (ANC) and says it's justified in poaching members from other unions.

Its opponents are losing members and believe Numsa is sabotaging Cosatu and working against the ruling party.

This means that Thursday evening's decision may simply be postponing the inevitable.

It appears the decision to adjourn the meeting came after the metalworkers union had had to justify why it should not be expelled and just before voting started.

It's not known why there was a sudden change of heart but it appears all the leaders involved are very aware of the importance of this decision.

However, this also seems to show that the ANC's mediation efforts have failed, as Cosatu is exactly where it was six months ago, about to vote to expel Numsa.

In the meantime even the federation's own leaders say its paralysed and unable to achieve any of its goals.