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Vavi due to make 'big announcement'

Zwelinzima Vavi has refused to say what’s being announced but has said it will be about his future.

Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is about to make what he says is a big announcement about his future, in what's thought could be an indication that he's going to resign.

Vavi has been under intense pressure within Cosatu after the majority of unions voted to expel the National Union Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) last year.

Last year, he was suspended for eight months after admitting to having sex with a junior Cosatu employee in 2013, but was reinstated following a court ruling.

Nine affiliate unions, including Numsa, supported Vavi during his suspension.

Cosatu's Central Executive Committee (CEC) is due to meet tomorrow amid speculation that the gathering could see Cosatu leaders decide to oust Vavi. Thus, he may want to make a move first.

If he does announce he's leaving the trade union federation, it could turn out to be a turning point in politics, especially if he has decided to then join the United Front Political movement that Numsa is starting.

The metalworkers' union was expelled from Africa's largest trade union federation by a vote of 33 to 24 after months of infighting and a widening rift between the union and Cosatu bosses.

Numsa was Cosatu's largest affiliate with nearly 350,000 members and was also backed by eight other unions in the Cosatu CEC.

The metalworkers union, previously the biggest member of Cosatu which is seen as a powerful vote-winning machine which also makes significant financial contributions for elections, has regularly criticised President Jacob Zuma's administration.

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