Numsa conflict with Saftu over suspension of top officials comes to a head

The four national executive committee members were sanctioned last month after leading a charge to have general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi suspended.

FILE: Irvin Jim defended the four’s rights to take action against Vavi who courted some controversy throughout his political career. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

JOHANNESBURG - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa’s (Numsa's) collision course with South African Federation of Trade Union (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi took shape and threatened to approach the courts over the suspension of four of the federation’s national office bearers.

The four national executive committee members - president Mac Chavalala, second deputy president Thabo Matsose, national treasurer Motshwari Lecogo and deputy general secretary Moleko Phakedi - were suspended last month after leading a charge to have Vavi suspended.

Vavi was accused of financial and administrative violations.

Numsa, however, claimed there was no sufficient cause to suspend the NEC members.

It argued the four had not actually suspended Vavi but took steps towards a possible suspension, insisting the question of usurping power simply did not arise.

The letter signed by Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim also demanded a special central committee meeting to deal with the issue or an immediate lifting of the suspension.

Jim also stated that otherwise it would be left to conclude that an ulterior motive was behind the suspensions.

He also defended the four’s right to take action against Vavi, who has courted some controversy throughout his political career.

Jim blamed Vavi for bringing negative media attention to the federation.

Numsa, which confirmed the letter, gave Vavi until 5pm on Friday to respond to its demands.