Cosatu's suspended secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi. File photo: Etienne Creux


Johannesburg - Supporters of iced Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi are planning to march on the federation’s headquarters to demand his reinstatement.

The Sunday Independent is in possession of a lobby document for Vavi’s reinstatement and a diary that shows that nine affiliates aligned to the suspended leader are planning to storm Cosatu House in Johannesburg “as a matter of urgency”.

The 32-page document and a two- page diary, the “plan of action” – circulated among the nine Cosatu affiliates sympathetic to Vavi – chronicles events that led to his suspension and argues that he is a victim of a vindictive mob hell-bent on turning the federation into an ANC labour desk.

The paper, which accuses Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini of leading a plot to oust Vavi, emerged in the wake of a press conference the nine affiliates held earlier this week calling for the suspended leader to be brought back to his job.

It is titled “Reflections on the unity of Cosatu: A brief historic perspective of the last twenty years, the campaign to discredit and get rid off Zwelinzima Vavi and why it will not succeed”.

The lobby document comes hot on the heels of the nine charges that Cosatu levelled against Vavi, including for having an affair with a staff member. Cosatu also wants Vavi dismissed for allegedly spending the federation’s money for flights for his wife and ex-wife.

He has denied the allegations, saying they were a witch-hunt.

Cosatu will hold a special meeting of its top brass in two weeks time to discuss the progress in the preparations to hold a special congress and the behaviour of the federation’s biggest affiliate, metalworkers union Numsa.

“It should be noted that the issue of relationships developing between leaders and staff members is as old as the unions themselves…” the document states.

“Some of these relationships have been successful and have led to establishment of families and on-going relationships… There is little purpose in naming names if it results in children or individuals being subjected to unwanted attention,” the document added.

Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said the document was still work in progress.


Cloete said the paper was drafted by a “group of comrades”.

The unions in support of Vavi’s reinstatement include Numsa, the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the municipal workers union, Samwu, and the footballers’ union, Safpu. They are all accusing Dlamini of violating the Cosatu constitution by failing to hold a special congress they have called for.

Vavi’s supporters want to use the conference to return him to his post and fire Dlamini.

Dlamini said the document was a clear indication that Numsa wanted to form a new federation.

“It (Numsa) won’t succeed).

“They must reflect on how Cosatu dealt with Madisha (the former president) and then they will realise that the argument that they are raising is flawed and biased to defend an individual,” he said.

Dlamini said the planned march to Cosatu House in Johannesburg would not materialise.

“I know unions belonging to Cosatu will not march to Cosatu House… It has never happened,” he added.

Dlamini said he was still working on preparations for the special congress and would report to the federation’s central committee when it met in two weeks.

“We will continue to call Cosatu unions to work together and not be misled into a new agenda,” he said.

In the lobby paper, Vavi supporters argue that he was supposed to be forgiven in the same manner as President Jacob Zuma.

“Cosatu was among the first organisations to issue a public statement to accept the apology of the then deputy president of the ANC after he apologised in response to statements he made after he was found not guilty of rape in 2006.

“And again when the president Jacob Zuma apologised to the nation for impregnating a daughter of his friend (Sonono Khoza) Cosatu was one of the first organisations to issue a statement welcoming the apology,” it adds.

Dlamini is also accused of circulating a “bogus” intelligence report to discredit Vavi. The report stated that Vavi was working with an international organisation to topple Zuma’s government.

Sunday Indepedent