Johannesburg - The possible departure of the biggest labor group from the Congress of South African Trade Unions will be a “huge crisis” for the federation, Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini said.
“It is an issue that is facing the federation quite critically and we are very worried and are very much concerned about such a possibility,” Dlamini told reporters in Johannesburg today.
The 330,000-member National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa is threatening to withdraw from Cosatu, the ruling African National Congress’s biggest ally, after the labor federation suspended General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi pending an investigation into an extra-marital affair he had with a subordinate.
Vavi, who has criticized the ANC for its economic policies and failure to curb corruption, has said his suspension is part of a political plot to weaken Cosatu.
Numsa is considering whether it should broaden membership to other industries, defying Cosatu’s “one-sector, one-union” principle, Johannesburg-based Business Day newspaper reported today, citing a draft resolution.
Cosatu won’t expel Numsa if it accepts this resolution at the union’s special congress taking place this week in Boksburg, about 25 kilometers (16 miles) east of Johannesburg, Dlamini said.
“If people take the decision to do wrong things and hope that they will expelled by the federation, hard luck, we are not going to expel them,” he said.
“No union will be allowed to extend its scope and recruit and poach other members of another affiliate without facing the consequences.”
Vavi yesterday told the congress that the ANC is hit by rampant corruption, the Johannesburg-based Star newspaper reported.
Dlamini said Numsa shoudln’t have invited Vavi to address the congress while he is suspended.
“It is very wrong for people to undermine the decisions in the federation,” Dlamini said.
“Our general secretary knows that he is wrong to do that. It is in his best interests to respect the internal Cosatu policies.” - Bloomberg News