Nehawu mulls Vavi judgment appeal

Johannesburg - Nehawu will hold talks with its legal advisers and Cosatu about appealing the ruling setting aside the suspension of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, it said on Friday.

“This judgment does not clear Mr Vavi with regard to the offences that he has committed in terms of the rules of the federation,” the National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) said in a statement.

Cosatu's suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi Picture: Werner Beukes. Credit: SAPA

“Just as we acknowledge the court's judgment, Cosatu... should still exercise its responsibility to hold comrade Vavi to account for his actions in terms of the applicable rules of the federation.”

Deputy Judge President Phineas Mojapelo ruled in the High Court in Johannesburg that the Congress of SA Trade Unions' central executive committee had the right to suspend Vavi, but that it had failed to comply with Cosatu's constitution.

The Workers' and Socialist Party and the Food and Allied Workers' Union (Fawu), a Cosatu affiliate, welcomed the court ruling.

Wasp said the ruling was a victory for Cosatu members.

“The attempt of the pro-ANC leadership around (Cosatu president S’dumo) Dlamini and (acting general secretary Bheki) Ntshalintshali to subordinate Cosatu within the tripartite alliance has suffered a set-back today,” it said in a statement.

“Dlamini and co have pursued their vendetta against Vavi on behalf of the ANC, who sees it as a strategic objective to suffocate the resistance of the organised working class to the ANC's anti-working class policies.”

Fawu welcomed the judgment as “confirmation of the need for common sense to prevail” in dealing with the crisis within Cosatu.

Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said it hoped Cosatu's national office bearers and the unions which had supported Vavi's suspension would not pursue further legal steps.

It encouraged Vavi to return to work as soon as his daughter recovered from a car accident. Vavi was not in court on Friday because his daughter was in a car crash in Queenstown, in the Eastern Cape, on Thursday.

“Fawu will still take legal advice on how to launch a lawsuit to individual leaders of the federation and of supporting affiliated unions should they proceed to make an appeal and take other legally-flawed decisions yet utilising resources of Cosatu to defend such steps,” Masemola said.

Cosatu is expected to discuss the judgment and the way forward at a special central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday.