Johannesburg - The heat inside the troubled Cosatu was to be turned up a notch on Tuesday when the federation holds a special central executive committee (CEC) meeting.
The pow-wow is meant to discuss calls by nine of Cosatu’s 19 unions to hold a special national congress.
They believe the congress is the only forum that can put an end to the divisions that have been plaguing Cosatu for more than a year.
The unions have accused Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini of dragging his feet on the matter.
According to the Cosatu constitution, Dlamini is meant to set up the congress if more than a third of the federation’s affiliates request the meeting.
But it was likely that today’s CEC would not run smoothly. Last Friday, the Southern African Commercial Catering and Allied Workers Union sent a letter to Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali questioning the CEC’s agenda.
The letter says additional items have been added to the agenda without agreement.
“… the meeting amounts to asking the CEC delegates to deliberately condone violation of the constitution.
“According to our recollection of deliberations of the CEC meeting held on February 24-26, 2014, the only issue on the agenda of the special CEC meeting should be tabling and consideration of the president’s report on modalities towards the special national congress,” the letter reads.
Although Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven could not confirm what was on the agenda, it is understood that some also want the CEC to discuss the recent reinstatement of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, calls for the National Union of Metalworkers of SA to be suspended or expelled from Cosatu, a forensic report into Vavi’s alleged financial maladministration as well as a report into how to unify Cosatu.
If the agenda is changed, unions could argue that the CEC should not go ahead as they did not get a mandate from their members on the new issues.
However, there could be a push for it to happen if the majority of unions support the add-ons, even though the Cosatu constitution does not allow for an agenda to be changed at a meeting.
There was a similar situation at a Cosatu CEC meeting earlier this year, which went ahead even though it was boycotted by a number of unions.
It is rumoured that some anti-Vavi unions might push for him to be suspended once more.