21/11/2013, Making his point: Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini during a media briefing in Braamfontein. Picture: Adrian de Kock

Cape Town - Cosatu will not expel the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), its president S’dumo Dlamini said in Cape Town on Tuesday.

“The conduct of comrades is an invitation to Cosatu to expel them. That is what they are crying: 'expel us, expel us'. We are not going to expel them,” he said at the joint National Education, Health, and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) shop steward council.

“Those members should never make a mistake of thinking Numsa is their own exclusive union. It belongs to Cosatu. It belongs to this progressive movement. Don't give them what they want.”

The Congress of SA Trade Unions president said he had written a letter to Numsa suggesting two dates to meet.

A meeting with it on Monday had not taken place as planned.

Dlamini said the purpose of meeting was not to beg Numsa to change its resolutions but simply to ask the union how it planned to work with the congress.

Numsa held its own national special congress in December to discuss its position within Cosatu and whether it should support the African National Congress in this year's elections.

The union had resolved not to support the ruling party and called for President Jacob Zuma to resign following the controversy around the security upgrades to his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal.

Last week, Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said it had to claim Cosatu back.

“If we fail... we may have no option than to start the formation of a new labour federation in this country,” he said.

Numsa said at the time it would fight back if Cosatu wanted to expel it.

Dlamini said he knew his remarks would goad Numsa to act out.

“I know when I say this in public, they are going to do this thing even more. I am wearing a crocodile skin... no, I don't feel the pain.”

Numsa and Cosatu have been at loggerheads since the trade union federation's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was suspended for having an affair with a junior employee last year, among other allegations. The metalworkers union has also accused Cosatu of dragging its feet on holding a national special congress.

Last week, nine Cosatu affiliates held a news briefing also calling for a special congress, and for Vavi's reinstatement.

They are the Communication Workers Union, the Democratic Nurses Union of SA, the Food and Allied Workers Union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, 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.

Dlamini spoke out against those who had run to the media instead of respecting internal processes.

“You don't say that (you are a political authority of nine unions) and still hope to be belonging in an organisation that you love so much.”