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Roadmap to tackle Cosatu's divisions

Vavi has called on rival factions to stop public attacks on opposing affiliates & take part in the mediation.

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

JOHANNESBURG - Zwelinzima Vavi says the Congress of South African Trade Unions ( Cosatu)'s former leaders will meet with African National Congress officials this weekend to formulate a roadmap for discussions on divisions within the federation.

Cosatu today announced that allegations of wrongdoing against Vavi would be dealt with in a political mediation process which should happen as soon as possible.

The general secretary called on rival factions to stop public attacks on opposing affiliates and take part in the mediation.

Vavi said Cosatu's current leaders will also be consulted in this process.

"The ANC task team is meeting former Cosatu leaders this Saturday and will meet with Cosatu's national office bearers on Monday or Tuesday to develop this roadmap for these discussions to take place."

Cosatu President Sidumo Dlamini said the request for a special national congress by seven Cosatu unions will also be discussed during this process.

"There are reasons for a call for a special national congress and the fact that this cannot be held this year, but next year we have a national congress. Can we afford to have two national congresses in the same year?"

Vavi earlier today called on warring factions within Cosatu to stop the hostilities and take part in a new process to forge unity.

The general secretary is accused of abusing his powers after an 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'

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.

"That was a distortion, it was certainly not the decision of the meeting. The decision of the meeting was the matter was being referred to a political process, a discussion that is needed in the federation."

During a briefing earlier today, 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.

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