Cosatu's suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi arrives at the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, 27 March 2014 to challenge his suspension after admitting to an extra-marital affair with a junior employee. Vavi said the trade union federation's central executive committee failed to hold a vote as required by its constitution. Cosatu maintains that Vavi was suspended because he violated the federation's code of conduct. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg - Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi called for unity within the trade union federation ahead of his first day back at the office on Monday morning.

In an interview, he told SAfm he had heard in statements at the weekend by leaders of the National Union of Mineworkers and the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) that he would be suspended again this week.

“All I want to say... this suspension and the status quo decided by the (Congress of SA Trade Unions) congress, gives any union, including every leader, an opportunity to start afresh, to prioritise the interests of their members, to ensure Cosatu can be united again... to address unemployment... and inequalities,” said Vavi.

“If congress wants to throw away all those issues... it is a choice that comrades would have to make....”

Vavi told the radio station it was time to move on and focus on union-related matters.

“I apologised a million times to every member of the federation,” he said.

“I committed an error, I accepted responsibility.”

Vavi said he would return to work after finishing the interview with SAfm.

A small group of people gathered outside Cosatu House in Johannesburg to welcome Vavi.

The High Court in Johannesburg set aside Vavi’s suspension from Cosatu on Friday

He was put on special leave in August last year, pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee.

Following Vavi's suspension, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), an ally of his, lodged an application in the High Court in Johannesburg challenging the decision.

Cosatu has been split between affiliates supporting Vavi and those supporting his suspension.

However, it emerged at a Numsa shopstewards' council at the Coastlands Hotel in Durban on Sunday that Vavi could face a renewed suspension.

“On Tuesday they will say let us continue with the disciplinary charges against Zwelinzima Vavi,” Numsa deputy president Karl Cloete said at the council.

Cloete said that the current office bearers of Cosatu should be held accountable for wasting workers' money on hiring expensive lawyers to fight Vavi's reinstatement. - Sapa