'Vavi dismissed for gross misconduct'

The deputy general secretary on Tuesday said Vavi's decision to boycott meetings had a serious impact.

Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) General-Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi during a press conference about his future in the trade union federation 29 March 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Tuesday said it dismissed Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi for gross misconduct, which included missing three meetings without a valid reason, bringing the federation into disrepute and sowing divisions among its affiliates.

Vavi was dismissed by Cosatu's special Central Executive Committee (CEC) meeting in Braamfontein on Monday with five affiliates and himself absent.

On Sunday, the former general secretary announced he would not attend Cosatu CEC meeting.

In response to his dismissal he tweeted, 'Don't mourn, organise' last night before tweeting a Martin Luther King quote.

The reasons for his dismissal were communicated at the end of the CEC meeting at Cosatu House on Tuesday.

Deputy General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said Vavi's decision to boycott the meetings had a serious impact.

"The failure to attend the meeting had a major implication on the management and administration of the affairs of the federation."

He said the misconduct could not be tolerated.

"The CEC concludes that Cosatu's constitution and the code of conduct for staff and leaders had been violated by [Vavi.] Therefore he is dismissed with immediate effect."


Meanwhile, African National Congress (ANC) Secretary General Gwede Mantashe said he didn't know how long it was going to take to stop the conflict within Cosatu.

He said it was unfortunate that the crisis has reached a point where the federation had expelled a union and dismissed a general secretary.

Mantashe said he didn't know if the dismissal meant Vavi was now going to become a leader in the new United Front political movement being set up by the National Union Metalworkers of South Africa.

He added that new political parties were being created all the time.

"Many opposition parties are in trouble and many of them aren't in Parliament or are marginally present in Parliament."

On Monday he said that in their quest to hurt each other, Cosatu leaders may find there was nothing left of their union federation.

He also said Vavi's behaviour in announcing that the federation had used its political fund to pay salaries was bordering on delinquent.

Mantashe said the trade federation's leaders needed to be careful when handling Vavi.

He added that Cosatu's problems could be solved and if Cosatu was united, it could face any problem.


Cosatu's President Sdumo Dlamini said the unity of the federation could not be sacrificed at the expense of one leader.

The federation on Tuesday launched a scathing attack on its now dismissed general secretary saying he behaved as someone who is above the federation's rules and a law unto himself during recent tensions.

Dlamni said Cosatu could only be united if the organisation and not its leaders were placed at the centre of unity talks.

"If the unity puts the federation at the centre then we are all for that."

He added that the ruling party facilitated meetings with five Cosatu unions loyal to Vavi would continue.

"The five unions said they will continue to participate in Cosatu activities."

Only 12 out of 17 Cosatu affiliates attended the CEC meeting in which Vavi was axed but Dlamni said he didn't think they would leave the federation.