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

Johannesburg - The National Union of Metalworkers of SA has seven days to explain why it should not be suspended or expelled from the Congress of SA Trade Unions.

“Cosatu agreed to give the union a further seven days from today and there will then be a special CEC meeting to discuss their response,” Cosatu acting general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told reporters in Johannesburg on Thursday.

“As instructed by the special central executive committee, national office bearers (NOBs) wrote to Numsa leaders asking them to give reasons in writing why they should not be suspended or expelled from the federation.”

Cosatu and Numsa have been at loggerheads since general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was suspended for having an affair with a junior employee.

Numsa and nine other Cosatu affiliates asked that Cosatu hold a special national congress. The special central executive committee (CEC) denied this request earlier this month.

Numsa resolved at its congress in December not to support the African National Congress in the May general elections.

On Thursday, Ntshalintshali said the matter was discussed and it was agreed that Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini be given the opportunity to give his final decision at a special CEC.

“The CEC further reaffirmed its condemnation of public statements and activities by provincial structures against CEC decisions, called for these issues only to be discussed internally and ordered leaders to enforce this decision.”

It was agreed that one union would be active in one industry. Numsa decided during at its conference in December to venture into different industries to grow the union.

Ntshalintshali said: “The meeting reaffirmed Cosatu's historic adherence to the principle of one-union-one-industry and agreed to take action against unions which have been 'poaching' members of other unions in other sectors, a problem which has festered for many years.”

The national office bearers said they were not afraid of Numsa or being voted out at a special national congress.

Cosatu's second deputy president Zingiswa Losi said Cosatu's leaders were not elected by Numsa alone.

“All six NOBs were elected unopposed. Why must we fear that one affiliate is here? We have no fear. If a special national congress must happen, we will call the SNC (special national congress),” she said.