Cosatu boss ordered to convene special national congress

The High Court in Johannesburg ordered Sidumo Dlamini to hold the congress on 13 and 14 July.

FILE: Sidumo Dlamini. Picture: Official Cosatu Facebook page.

JOHANNESBURG - The High Court in Johannesburg has ordered Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president, Sidumo Dlamini, to convene a special national congress on 13 and 14 of July and says an initial petition submitted two years ago remains valid.

Seven Cosatu unions, including the now expelled National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), called for the special national congress in 2013 to resolve factional battles.

At the time Dlamini said such a congress would divide workers but the court has now ruled that it should have gone ahead.

Numsa's Irvin Jim says today's court order vindicates his union and is the first step towards reclaiming Cosatu.

"The court has given effect to what we've insisted: that the president of Cosatu must convene a special national congress, he could not do it up until he was forced by the court."

He says Numsa is also challenging its expulsion in court and the focus will shift to ensuring it attends the congress.

"This call was made for a special national congress when Cosatu expelled Numsa, so that when this conference takes place we must not be part of this meeting. From this victory we've secured today, we are going to challenge Numsa's expulsion."

The Cosatu president has also been ordered to issue a notice of the congress to affiliates by the end of this month.