The battles wreaking havoc in Cosatu have now reached the courts, meaning the chances of a political solution have all but evaporated.
An unprecedented legal challenge sees three affiliate unions lock horns with their federation's leadership regarding last month's decision to suspend general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini says they hope to find a solution at their central executive committee meeting next week, but this is not the rainbow on the horizon it appears to be.
Dlamini could be signalling a move to deal with Vavi decisively this time, with no wriggle room for the indefatigable Irvin Jim and his posse.
There is no possible way the pending court battle between the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), the Food and Allied Workers' Union (Fawu) and the South African Football Players' Union (Safpu) against their trade union federation Cosatu can end amicably.
If anything, it will sour relations irrevocably as opting for litigation takes the high-stakes conflict in Cosatu out of the hands of the federation and the alliance and places it at the discretion of a non-political player: a high court judge. Rolling the dice does not get riskier than that.