Cops called to separate Cosatu affiliates

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iol nws march 29 SS Vavi INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS FIGHTING BACK: Zwelinzima Vavi arrives at the Johannesburg High court where he fought his suspension. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya

Durban - Riot police were called into a Durban hotel to separate Cosatu affiliates where its newly reinstated secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi was supposed to speak on Sunday.

Vavi was supposed to address a shop stewards council at the Coastlands Hotel in Durban.

But when National Union of Metalworkers of SA members arrived they found it had also been booked by Cosatu affiliate the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).

On both sides, numerous members were singing, with some carrying umbrellas and sticks while others wore T-shirts with President Jacob Zuma's image.

Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA (Denosa) KwaZulu-Natal secretary Cassim Lekhoati could also be seen negotiating in a bid to secure alternative venues for the two different groups.

A police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that one venue at the hotel had been booked about three weeks previously by Numsa while another venue at the hotel was booked by Sadtu.

It is understood that the hotel inadvertently opened the Numsa-booked venue to Sadtu.

Sadtu's Durban South Regional secretary Sva Xuku said: "We were having a Sadtu meeting upstairs when we became aware that there are other Cosatu members here. Constitutionally we have a right to attend a Cosatu meeting."

Police eventually managed to persuade the Numsa-led group to hold their meeting on the third floor conference venue while the Sadtu-led group remained on the second floor.

At the Numsa-led group, members of the Food and Allied Workers Union, the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union and Denosa were seen.

There were about 30 police officers present at the hotel.

By midday there was still no sign of Vavi at the Numsa-led meeting. The meeting had been due to start at 10am.

His daughter was injured in a car accident in the Eastern Cape on Thursday.

In August last year, Cosatu said Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee.

In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair.

The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.

Following Vavi's suspension Numsa, an ally of his, lodged an application in the High Court in Johannesburg challenging the decision.

On Friday, the High Court in Johannesburg set aside Vavi's suspension. Cosatu had been split between affiliates supporting Vavi and those supporting his suspension.

 

Sapa



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