Zwelinzima Vavi at the launch of the new trade union federation in Boksburg. Picture: Getrude Makhafola/ANA Pictures

Ekurhuleni – Delegates at the founding congress of a new trade union federation on Saturday resolved to retain the name South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) despite objections against the name from rival federation the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa).

The second day of the congress was set aside for the finalisation of the organisation's name, logo, colours, and its constitution. The federation's affiliates, among others the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the National Transport Movement (NTM), and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) agreed to the Saftu name.

"We will win [in court] against Fedusa... the two names do not even sound the same. Viva Saftu!" said a Fawu member.

Saftu, punted as a politically independent and worker-controlled federation by its organisers, is spearheaded by former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and Numsa.

Fawu resolved to leave Cosatu last year. The union had been at odds with Cosatu since the expulsion of Numsa in 2015, accusing the federation leaders led by Sidumo Dlamini of being biased against Numsa and Vavi.

Steering committee chairman Raymond Mnguni led the day's proceedings and officially adopted the Saftu name as the preferred name by delegates. Other suggested names were Ditusa (Democratic and Independent Trade Unions of SA), Prowfesa (Progressive Workers’ Federation of SA), and Sactu (South African Council of Trade Unions).

Fedusa has objected to the Saftu name and requested that a different name be adopted. Fedusa said the Saftu name closely resembled theirs.

Mnguni told delegates on Friday that the federation was ready to fight for the Saftu name in court and win against Fedusa.

Saftu will be the country’s fourth union federation after Cosatu, Fedusa, and the National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu). Cosatu is the biggest of all the country’s federations. The founding congress ends on Sunday when leaders will be elected.