Cosatu served with legal papers

Unions say the legal papers will force Cosatu into convening a special national congress.

FILE: Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) house in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. Picture: Janice Healing/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - A third of the unions affiliated with Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) have served the federation with court papers to force it to convene a special national congress.

Yesterday, Cosatu's senior leaders met without the participation of the seven unions that are opposing the expulsion of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) from the federation.

Numsa was voted out of Cosatu earlier this month, a decision that's been met with mixed reaction from the federation's provincial structures.

Speaking at a Numsa seminar about gender issues in Johannesburg last night, the union's general secretary Irvin Jim said the the union will continue to fight its dismissal from Cosatu.

"Those papers legally force Cosatu to convene the special national congress."

At the same time, Jim accused South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande of driving a wedge between Cosatu and its affiliates.

He says the SACP were driving the agenda to have them thrown out of the federation.

"What we would have expected from the leadership of Cosatu is to say you cannot intervene directly and destroy affiliates of Cosatu. The role of communists in society is that they have no separate interests from different political parties."