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ANC: Decision to expel Numsa tragic, disappointing

Gwede Mantashe says the union's removal is not only bad for Cosatu but for society in general.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the decision by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s Central Executive Committee (CEC) to expel the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) is tragic and disappointing.

He says the union's removal is not only bad for Cosatu, but also for the Tripartite Alliance, progressive forces and society in general.

Mantashe wasn't hesitant to say how seriously he takes this development.

"Our starting point is that the outcome of Cosatu's CEC meeting, specifically the expulsion of Numsa, is disappointing and tragic."

Mantashe said he still doesn't believe these problems are insurmountable.

7 UNIONS WITHDRAW FROM COSATU'S TOP STRUCTURES

At the same time, seven Cosatu affiliates supporting the metalworkers union have described their decision to withdraw from the federation's top structures as a battle for its soul.

The unions today announced they will resume a court bid for a special national congress to deal with divisions.

The unions include the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the South African State and Allied Workers Union (Sasawu), the Public and Allied Workers Union of South Africa, the Communication Workers Union, the South African Football Players Union, the Democratic Nursing Organisation of South Africa and the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union.

These are the same unions that voted against the motion to kick Numsa out.

Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini has been accused of using Cosatu to protect the ANC and South African Communist Party which has been sharply criticised by Numsa.

Fawu president, Atwell Nazo, says the fight against Numsa's expulsion is about much more than the metalworkers union.

"We are fighting for the soul of our own federation which was built by our leaders. It's not an easy thing to leave the federation and go and form another one."

Gauteng chairperson of Denosa, Simphiwe Gada, says the federation's leadership has hijacked the highest decision making structure and they will therefore withdraw their participation.

"We're dealing with gangsters because if you say you're a worker driven organisation, why are we simply denying the members of Cosatu a special national congress?"

The seven unions are due to meet with their CECs this week for talks on how to challenge the metalworkers union's expulsion.