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Johannesburg - Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi will challenge his suspension from the trade union federation in the High Court in Johannesburg.
“The papers, applying for me to be added as an interested party as an applicant in the case of Numsa versus Cosatu, were filed in court and served to all the attorneys of the relevant parties in the matter at noon today,” Vavi said in a statement on Friday.
“In addition to joining the case, albeit for different reasons to those advanced by Numsa, I've also asked for immediate relief in my papers.”
Vavi said he was asking the court to grant him an interim order interdicting and restraining the Congress of SA Trade Unions from enforcing any decision taken at its central executive committee last month. He also wanted final relief to review and set aside the decision to suspend him and institute disciplinary proceedings.
“Having spent the bulk of my life, 15 years in the congress movement and 12 of these as Cosatu general secretary, I have taken this extraordinary decision with a heavy heart,” Vavi said.
“Never did it cross my mind that one day I will be left with no choice but to use courts of law to defend my rights against an organisation I have dedicated my whole adult life building,” he said.
Last month, Cosatu announced that Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to an affair he had with a junior employee.
In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said he had a consensual affair with her. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.
The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), an ally of Vavi, is challenging his suspension in the high court.
The Food and Allied Workers' Union and SA Football Players' Union are co-applicants.
On Tuesday, Numsa's application was postponed after the high court allowed an application by seven opposing unions to intervene.
The intervening unions are the National Union of Mineworkers, the SA Democratic Teachers' Union, the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union, the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union, the Finance Union, and the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers' Union.
The are all Cosatu affiliates, and are opposing Numsa's application.
Numsa is expected to file an opposing affidavit by October 2. - Sapa