Vavi calls on warring Cosatu factions to stop the hostility

Vavi today dodged another disciplinary process after Cosatu's CEC decided to pursue political mediation.

FILE: Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Zwelinzima Vavi has called on warring factions within the Congress of South African Trade Unions ( Cosatu) to stop the hostilities and take part in a new process to forge unity.

Vavi today dodged another disciplinary process after the federation's Central Executive Committee (CEC) decided to pursue political mediation.

The general secretary is accused of abusing his powers after his extramarital affair with a junior employee in his office and sowing divisions by criticising Cosatu's national office bearers.

Vavi said the public attacks must come to an end.

"We call on all individuals and affiliates who have launched a public onslaught against one another or other comrades and other affiliates to stop these attacks."

He said the future of the two million member worker movement depends on the success of this process.

'INFORMATION PEDDLERS SPREADING UNTRUTHS'

Cosatu says a special national congress will be held at a date yet to be decided.

The trade union federation held a special CEC meeting yesterday but says information peddlers have distorted the outcome of that gathering.

Vavi said some information peddlers had spread untruths about Cosatu's CEC reinstating charges against him and that nothing could be further from the truth.

During a briefing earlier today, Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini said the matter had not been swept under the carpet.

"We are dealing with the issue in the manner that will unite the federation. We aren't sparing him. We're not treating him with soft gloves."

Earlier, a third of the unions affiliated to the federation served it 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 by 33 votes to 24 earlier this month and the decision has since exposed the rift between rival affiliates.

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

Jim also accused South African Communist Party leader Blade Nzimande of driving a wedge between Cosatu and its affiliates.