Delegates at Saftu conference face off over reinstatement of suspended officials

Delegates aligned to metalworkers’ union Numsa have been demanding the reinstatement of four officials who were suspended after leading a charge to have general secretary of the federation Zwelinzima Vavi.

Trade unions affiliated to Saftu address the media on 18 March 2022 after secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi was served with notice of intention to suspend him over alleged misconduct. The 13 unions do not include Numsa, which is the largest union in the federation. Picture: Masechaba Sefularo/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation of Trade Unions' (Saftu) second elective conference has gotten underway in Boksburg with delegates already facing off over the trade union federation’s constitution.

Delegates aligned to metalworkers’ union Numsa have been demanding the reinstatement of four officials who were suspended after leading a charge to have general secretary of the federation Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi was accused of financial and administrative violations with attempts to have him suspended thwarted by his supporters.

Numsa had then demanded that this issue be discussed before a new leadership is elected.

Several speakers, including former unionist Mbhazima Shilowa are yet to deliver their addresses earlier Vavi while setting out the house rules told delegates no divisive songs would be allowed.

It’s understood Vavi and Numsa’s battle is over the status of the federation with the former wanting it to remain removed from politics while the latter are accused of trying to get it to endorse their workers’ party.

The conference will wrap on Thursday.