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Cosatu CEC meeting underway

Numsa will today be presented with an opportunity to motivate why it should remain in Cosatu.

A group of protesters gather outside Cosatu headquarters in Johannesburg on Friday, 24 May 2013 after the march against e-tolls was cancelled. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - After several court challenges and postponements, a meeting that could see members of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) being expelled from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is now underway at the federation's head office in Braamfontein.

Numsa leaders arrived at Cosatu House earlier to cheers and support from members of the union and other affiliates which have emerged as Numsa allies in factional battles.

Yesterday, the High Court in Johannesburg paved the way for today's meeting to go ahead when it dismissed an urgent application by the metalworkers' union.

Cosatu's Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting is now underway with delegations from all the affiliates having arrived.

While the focus of the meeting will be on Numsa,it's understood the status of the trade union federation's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and the issue of outstanding affiliation fees could also be discussed.

Numsa will today be presented with an opportunity to motivate why it should remain in Cosatu but its leaders told supporters outside the federation's headquarters that a decision has already been made by rival factions.

A debate is also expected on Cosatu's second deputy president Zingiswa Losi who was suspended from Numsa earlier this year.

CEC MEETING A 'SLAUGHTERHOUSE'

Numsa says its potential expulsion from Cosatu has become a mere formality.

It has described the CEC meeting as "a slaughterhouse".

Speaking to supporters outside Cosatu House, Numsa President Andrew Chirwa said the outcome has already been decided.

"We are just passing to greet before we go to the slaughterhouse where Numsa shall be slaughtered today and of course be removed from the federation."

Chirwa also said he is attending today's meeting to send a warning to leaders who may think they own Cosatu.

"We are here today to send a message that Cosatu belongs to metalworkers like any other worker in South Africa. Those people who want to sell Cosatu to the highest bidder must leave because it belongs to the workers."