Zwelinzima Vavi's allies secured a psychological victory by meeting the constitutional requirements to convene a special Cosatu congress that will decide his future in the federation. But that is all they can celebrate for now.
Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini holds all the cards to decide whether to convene the congress (he can opt not to), when it should be and what will be on the agenda.
Meanwhile the deck was stacked against Vavi at this week's central executive committee meeting and his pile of woes might be increasing.
The fate of Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi lies in the numbers. Amongst the broad membership of Cosatu, Vavi is extremely popular. But in the federation's central executive committee (CEC), made up of leaders of affiliate unions and provincial structures, his allies are outnumbered.
This is why an attempt to undo the decision to suspend him failed this week, when his allies were defeated by 16 votes to 33.
The minutes of last month's special CEC meeting, which took the decision to place Vavi on special leave pending a disciplinary hearing on charges of misconduct, was therefore adopted.
With the lines of division now clear and attitudes hardened, any...