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Vavi consulting lawyers and allied unions following dismissal

Zwelinzima Vavi said his dismissal represented a turning point in South Africa's labour movement.

Sacked Congress of South African Trade Union, Zwelinzima Vavi, speaking to the media during a press conference in Johannesburg on 1 April 2015. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Zwelinzima Vavi on Wednesday said he was consulting lawyers and allied unions before deciding if he should challenge his expulsion from Congress South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) which he's described as completely unfair and illegal.

Vavi is responding to his dismissal by Cosatu's special Central Executive Committee which met this week without five of its affiliates.

The federation's CEC meeting voted to dismiss the secretary general on Monday.

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

At least 31 members of the CEC voted to dismiss him while only one member voted against that decision.

He said his dismissal represented a turning point in South Africa's labour movement.

The former general secretary said his right to a fair process had been denied.

Vavi added the workers and his family would advise him on whether he should challenge his dismissal.

"I'm in consultation to decide if I should challenge my illegal expulsion. I have no doubt that the dismissal is unfair."

He condemned the action taken by the Cosatu meeting saying it was unfair and illegal.

Vavi said it was unfair because it was based on an inaccurate auditors' report and he was never afforded an independent hearing.

He said workers should now decide if the trade union federation was still worth fighting for or if a new federation should be formed.

The sacked Cosatu general secretary said mass meetings with seven Cosatu unions would take place across the country this week where a political response will be finalised.

PATRICK CRAVEN RESIGNS

Cosatu's long-time spokesperson Patrick Craven on Wednesday announced his resignation, saying he could not "defend the indefensible".

Less than 48 hours after Cosatu's CEC voted overwhelmingly to expel Vavi, Craven confirmed he was leaving Cosatu House.

Craven said he decided to resign because he felt the instruction to Cosatu members not to interact with Vavi was tantamount to suppressing freedom of expression.

VAVI OUTLINES HIS PLANS TO UNITE WORKERS

Meanwhile, Vavi also confirmed that he started talking with independent labour federations as well as unions about uniting all workers of South Africa under one movement.

He said he would be addressing workers across the country at a meeting organised by Cosatu unions in the coming weeks as they decided how to unite different organisations.

Vavi said 'one federation, one country' was the reason behind his talks with unions outside of the trade union federation.

"I spoke to a range of other trade unions to say the ultimate goal of workers is unity."

But the ousted general secretary said the unions which supported him had not begun work on a new federation as it was still unclear if workers wanted to abandon Cosatu.

"A lot of people have said the time has arrived and that is why we are throwing the matter back to them to debate."

News of Vavi's dismissal from Cosatu was met with condemnation from Nactu, Fedusa and other independent unions such as Amcu.