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 - Four regional offices of Ceppwawu threw their weight on Monday behind the call for the reinstatement of suspended Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi.

“The position of the union regarding the suspension of comrade Zwelinzima Vavi must be changed as it has not been canvassed within the union due to frequent postponements and cancellations of NEC meetings,” the regions of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers Union (Ceppwawu) said in a statement.

“All statements in this regard from the union and court challenges hereto including positions to this effect should be immediately revoked.”

The four regions said their respective congresses resolved and mandated their leadership to join the call that Vavi's suspension should be lifted with immediate effect.

The regions also called for a special national congress of Cosatu to discuss and conclude questions of leadership of the federation and the future of Vavi.

The four regions were the North West, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Wits regions.

Vavi was suspended last year after he admitted to having an affair with a junior employee. Cosatu handed him a charge sheet earlier this month, five months after his suspension.

In January, nine Cosatu affiliates called for the reinstatement of Vavi and for a special congress.

They were 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.

The nine affiliates criticised Cosatu for not holding a special congress. They wanted the congress to be held by the end of March and wanted a new Cosatu leadership elected. If the congress was not held by then the unions threatened to take the matter to court.

The affiliates said the disciplinary process instituted against Vavi was unjust.