Cosatu ‘working together’ to solve problems

Cosatu's national leaders say they've decided to try and find solutions to the federation's problems.

FILE: Cosatu's national leaders have released a joint statement saying they're trying to find solutions to the union's problems. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - National leaders of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have released a joint statement in which they say they've decided to try and find solutions to the federation's problems by working together.

Earlier this week, it emerged Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had refused to appear at a Cosatu press conference because he felt he could not publicly defend the decision to expel the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini said he didn't appear because he had to meet his lawyers.

Now, they say there will be no holy cows in their quest to find a solution to these problems.

Cosatu's Patrick Craven says they have spent the week talking.

"We didn't find an immediate solution to these problems. It was agreed on all levels within Cosatu and its affiliates that we need to sit down and find ways to connect with each other."


Numsa's expulsion has been met with mixed reaction from some of the federation's provincial structures, where the metalworkers union has called on its members to continue attending meetings.

Numsa was voted out of Cosatu by 33 votes to 24 last weekend and the decision has since exposed the rift between rival affiliates.

Seven unions have defended the metalworkers union and called for its reinstatement, while the rest have either remained silent or backed the decision to expel.

In KwaZulu-Natal, Cosatu provincial secretary Edwin Mkhize said they had no choice but to implement the decision.

But Cosatu leaders in the Eastern Cape, where the federation has about half a million paid up members,described the move as divisive and without basis.

In the Western Cape, Cosatu leader Tony Ehrenreich said their structures have not discussed the matter and cannot comment.


Earlier this week, Vavi wrote a letter to union leaders in which he said he didn't attend Monday's press conference because he cannot defend the decision to expel Numsa.

He said the decision that was taken has the potential to destroy Cosatu.

In the two page document, Vavi said while he has in the past defended decisions he didn't agree with because of his belief in democratic centralism, he simply cannot defend the decision to expel Numsa.

He said this decision is contradicting and undermining organised workers and will have momentous implications for years to come.

Vavi also wrote that he's not doing public interviews because that might further jeopardise Cosatu and force it to jump off a cliff.

To read the full letter, click here.