02 Members of The National Union of mine workers sing and dance before the launch of of NUM National congress. Picture Antoine de Ras: 28/05/09

Johannesburg - All Congress of SA Trade Unions affiliates are bound by its constitution and should adhere to the federation's rules and principles, an official said on Wednesday.

“A federation and its affiliates should understand what is meant by democratic centralisation,” Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi said on Wednesday.

She was addressing delegates at the National Union of Mineworkers' central executive committee meeting in Johannesburg.

“Once you affiliate to Cosatu, that constitution binds you... there is no willy-nilly of telling us about your own autonomy above the Cosatu constitution. Once a decision is taken, it binds everyone.”

Cosatu's central executive committee undertook to remain in the tripartite alliance with the African National Congress and SA Communist Party.

“Unless decided otherwise at an ordinary congress, and not a special congress, Cosatu will remain within the alliance,” Losi said.

The federation has been marred by factionalism which worsened after Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi was suspended last year.

The National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) supported Vavi and took the matter to court. He was subsequently reinstated.

An ANC-led task team was appointed to try to resolve the problems within Cosatu.

Numsa and seven other affiliates have since called for a special Cosatu congress.

Losi said only an ordinary congress, the next one due to be held in September next year, could take decisions for the federation.

“No special congress can overturn the decisions of the previous ordinary congress,” she said.

The task team's intervention should ensure that a call for a special congress was a united call by all affiliates, she said.