Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is seen at the National Union of Metalworkers of SA's (Numsa) political school in Benoni in eastern Johannesburg on Tuesday, 17 September 2013, titled the Mbuyiselo Ngwenda Brigade. Ngwenda was Numsa's former general secretary.Vavi said he was speaking as a friend and neighbour of the late Ngwenda. Cosatu must remain an independent organisation whose leaders should not serve on the national executive committee (NEC) of the ANC, Vavi said on Tuesday. Last month, Cosatu announced that Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to an affair he had with a junior employee.In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said he had an affair with her. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg - The Food and Allied Workers' Union called on Monday for the return of suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Fawu said it had resolved to hold a special national executive committee meeting in February to take stock of developments since the last NEC meeting, which mandated national office bearers to call for Vavi's reinstatement.

“This expanded mandate is sought after in order to take into account the decision taken by Cosatu's national office bearers to proceed with issuing out the charge-sheet against Vavi,” Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola said in a statement on Monday.

He said the failure to convene the special national congress and decide on the way forward would also be addressed.

Masemola said the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) should not be turned into a museum which was pleased only with past glories, but had to be maintained as a militant and campaigning federation with Vavi at the helm.

“Fawu will lobby and engage all affiliates of Cosatu to convince them on the importance of such a stance and on how critical it is to have the return of Vavi in the office expedited...”

It said the special congress should be held by end of March.

The special congress is a meeting of all Cosatu affiliates.

Cosatu affiliates, Fawu, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, the SA Municipal Workers' Union, the SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers' Union and others intend holding a press conference on Wednesday to discuss the special congress and Vavi's suspension.