Cyril Ramaphosa. File picture: Giyani Baloi

Johannesburg - The truce brokered by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa in the embattled Cosatu is hanging by a thread as there are still intentions in the federation to get rid of general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa).

Indications from within the federation are that the intervention will be rejected if the ANC suggests the dropping of charges against Vavi or suspension of action against Numsa.

Ramaphosa’s intervention, on behalf of the ANC, is supposed to see the Cosatu leaders suspend hostilities for 30 days – until the May 7 elections have passed.

While both Cosatu and the SACP have officially expressed their support for the intervention following their bilateral meeting during the week, The Sunday Independent however understands that the SACP is in favour of the intervention as long as it does not include the dropping of charges against Vavi or letting Numsa off the hook.

The SACP and the ANC met this week, although neither would divulge the meeting’s contents.

Leaders of the tripartite alliance this week refused to respond to the question of whether Ramaphosa’s intervention, which was brokered after he addressed the federations’s central executive committee meeting two weeks ago, could include the dropping of charges against Vavi and the putting aside of the possible suspension or expulsion of Numsa.

One Cosatu leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity, this week said that dropping the charges against Vavi would be “problematic” as disciplinary processes against the woman he has been charged with having sex with at the union’s headquarters were under way.

“How do you then not take action against Vavi, it is a principle issue that cannot be swept under the carpet,” he said.

The issue is also understood to have been the subject of the meeting between the ANC and the SACP, but the leaders have refused to confirm this.

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said he could not communicate the outcomes of the meeting.

“We prefer to communicate openly only when there is something to report,” he said.

SACP second deputy general secretary Solly Mapaila refused to go into the details of the meeting. He referred to the party’s earlier statement welcoming the intervention.

“It was a closed meeting and not for public consumption,” said Mapaila.

But a senior SACP leader, who did not wish to be named as he is not mandated to speak to the press, reiterated suggestions the intervention was supported within the party as long as it would not suggest the dropping of charges against Vavi nor the putting aside of the pending action against Numsa.

The Cosatu leadership suspended discussions on both issues at the CEC shortly before they were addressed by Ramaphosa, who was accompanied by ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte to the meeting.


Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said the issues on the agenda of the postponed central executive meeting – essentially the issue of Vavi and Numsa – remained the same.


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Sunday Independent