Affiliates abandon Cosatu court challenge

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ST COSATU press 759 (1)

INLSA

Cosatu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addresses the media about the outcome of the CEC meeting. Photo: Motshwari Mofokeng

Johannesburg - A court challenge by some Cosatu affiliates insisting on a special national congress has been suspended, the trade union federation's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

“As a practical step to avoid unnecessary waste of resources, the eight unions involved agree that the proceedings in the high court application will be held in abeyance pending the ANC process,” he told reporters in Johannesburg.

“That process will continue for a maximum period of six weeks from the date of this resolution, unless otherwise extended.”

This was part of resolutions taken at the Congress of SA Trade Unions' three-day central executive committee meeting held this week.

Eight unions had lodged a court challenge after Cosatu denied their request to hold a special national congress.

The unions, including the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), wanted to elect a new Cosatu leadership.

Numsa and Cosatu had been at loggerheads since Vavi was put on special leave in August last year after he admitted to having an affair with a junior employee.

Thursday was the first time Vavi had joined his fellow Cosatu national office bearers since he returned to work after an eight-month suspension.

After his return the African National Congress intervened to help resolve battles in Cosatu.

Vavi said it was decided that the ANC task team, led by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, would finish its work in the next four weeks. The team had met with 12 Cosatu affiliates and still had another seven to meet. It would also hold a two-day meeting with Cosatu's national office bearers.

Vavi said the CEC had recognised that the divisions in the trade union federation were because of political and ideological differences which had caused factionalism.

It was agreed that the ANC task team would address leadership issues in Cosatu.

“The ANC should address the leadership question, including choosing of leaders, deployment of leaders, [and] personalities in leadership that could compromise unity,” he said.

“The [ANC] should include addressing governance issues such as disciplinary processes under way... as well as the call for a special national congress.”

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