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Cosatu hands Numsa an ultimatum

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iol news pic Bheki Ntshalintshali

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Bheki Ntshalintshali is the acting general secretary of trade union federation Cosatu.

Johannesburg - Numsa must give Cosatu reasons why it should not be suspended or expelled, the trade union federation said on Tuesday.

“The national office bearers reported their deep concern over the resolutions and declaration passed by Numsa's special congress which are diametrically opposed to Cosatu policies,” acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told reporters in Johannesburg.

“It was agreed that the national office bearers must write a letter to Numsa to give reasons why it should not be suspended or expelled from the federation, and is now being implemented.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions held a special central executive (CEC) committee meeting on Monday. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA and eight other Cosatu affiliates boycotted the meeting.

Numsa held a special national congress in December where it resolved, among other things, not to support the African National Congress in the upcoming general elections.

Ntshalintshali said the CEC agreed that Numsa, as a Cosatu affiliate, was bound by the trade union federation's policies and constitution.

Numsa and Cosatu had been at loggerheads since Cosatu's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was suspended. Vavi was put on special leave last year after admitting to having an affair with a junior employee.

Numsa has been calling for Cosatu to reinstate Vavi, saying the charges against him were unfair.

The metalworkers' union wants Cosatu to hold a special national congress so that new leadership can be elected. Ntshalintshali on Tuesday said the CEC declined the request from Numsa and other affiliates to hold the special national congress. He said a letter would be written to the other eight unions who called for the congress, explaining why it would not go ahead.

Numsa and the other eight affiliates wanted the congress to be held by the end of March and a new Cosatu leadership elected. The unions threatened to take Cosatu to court if it did not hold the congress.

The eight affiliates are the Communication Workers Union, the Democratic Nurses Union of SA, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA, the SA Commercial and Catering Workers Union, the SA Football Players Union, the SA Municipal Workers Union, and the SA State and Allied Workers Union.

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