Johannesburg - The ANC has asked for more time to make its recommendations on how to unify Cosatu.
The ruling party was meant to brief Cosatu on Tuesday during a special central executive committee (CEC) meeting. But it has not yet met the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) and the Chemical Energy Paper Printing Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu).
The ANC is currently trying to mediate a peace deal in Cosatu, which is largely dependent on whether Numsa is expelled from the federation. Numsa is accused of bucking Cosatu resolutions by not supporting the ANC in the general elections and poaching members from other unions.
While insiders say the meeting with Numsa, which is more significant than Ceppwawu’s, is not likely to have much of an impact on the ANC’s recommendations, the party must be seen to be acting fairly. It has met Cosatu’s other 17 affiliates.
The ANC has been attempting to broker a peace deal since about a month before the May elections. It is understood the CEC told an ANC delegation it needed to move urgently on the matter.
So far, Numsa and the ANC have not been able to agree on dates to meet.
On July 29, the union sent a letter to ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, who has been leading the facilitation process, saying it was finally available to meet. Since the beginning of last month, Numsa has been involved in a strike in the metal and engineering sector, as well as organising an international symposium to help it decide whether to eventually form a workers’ party.
“We fear that as a consequence of the volume of work we have had thus far, we have been unable to secure an appropriate date to meet with your team designated to intervene in the crisis in Cosatu,” reads the letter, a copy of which The Star has seen.
Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim says in the letter that the union is now available to meet the ruling party at a mutually agreed time and place.
But the union is steadfast that it will not abandon the resolutions it took at its special national congress in December that has put it on the warpath with Cosatu as well as many of its affiliates and the tripartite alliance.
The letter also takes issue with the mediation process, saying unions have not stuck to a temporary ceasefire which was agreed to by Cosatu’s affiliates at the end of May.