7 March 2014

South Africa: Numsa Response to Cosatu National Office Bearers Statement of March 4, 2014

press release

Numsa's National Office Bearers (NOBs') met in their normal monthly meeting and considered an array of organisational, administrative and political matters, including the Cosatu NOB's statement of 4th March 2014.

1. Meeting the Cosatu seven (7) day deadline:

Numsa has every intention to comply with the February 2014 Cosatu CEC decision which calls on Numsa to offer reasons within 7 days from the date of 26th February 2014 as to why Numsa should not be suspended and/or expelled. A very detailed and comprehensive Numsa response shall be provided today Friday 7th March 2014.

What is evident from the Cosatu NOBs' statement of 4 March 2013 is that it lays the basis for Numsa's suspension or expulsion in a predetermined fashion. This is supported by the distribution of Numsa documents by the Cosatu NOBs to all Cosatu affiliates on 5th March 2014. These documents included a draft, unsigned Numsa response which Numsa withdrew in terms of an agreement between the Cosatu Deputy General Secretary and the Numsa General Secretary on 20 February 2014.

It is crystal clear that the cynical leaking of unofficial and withdrawn Numsa documents is intended to pre-empt Numsa's response to the Cosatu CEC. The formal Numsa reply is only due on Friday 7th March 2014 - why circulate documents that are unofficial and withdrawn?

2. Broad day light violation of Cosatu's Constitution:

As far back as April 2013, the FAWU NEC called for the convening of Cosatu Special National Congress to deal with the paralysis within Cosatu since the September 2012 Cosatu 11th National Congress. This call was made long before the suspension of Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi by the unconstitutional August 2013 CEC.

For close to 6 months now the Cosatu President has failed to convene the Cosatu Special National Congress particularly when the requisitioning affiliates forwarded an agenda suggesting, amongst others, the re-election of Cosatu National Office Bearers. If you know that you are drunk with power and holding onto power (even if Cosatu is dying in your hands), we can then understand why you would not call the Special National Congress.

Cosatu's Constitution says, unambiguously, that the President must (not may, or might or could) convene the Cosatu Special National Congress if one-third of the affiliates request it. Yet because of the numerical strength of the Sdumo faction in the CEC, even such clearly constitutional matters are voted upon. That is why we are in court on 27 - 28 March 2014.

3. On the Sizwe, Ntsaluba Gobodo (SNG) Auditors findings:

Cosatu NOB's and the Cosatu CEC must make up its mind, whether the SNG report is final or a draft. The purpose of having the right to respond to such a report is that the final report can take into account your response. It is simply ludicrous that Comrade Vavi should be asked to respond to a final report which has already been adopted by the Cosatu Special CEC of 10 February 2014. This clearly demonstrates the desperation to find Vavi guilty by any means necessary. We are tired of the dishonest acts of naked self-preservation constantly committed by the discredited leadership of Cosatu.

4. On tribalism in Cosatu:

The Cosatu NOB's have now run out of ideas in confronting the crises and paralyses in Cosatu and thus see it necessary to resort to so-called tendencies of tribalism within Cosatu. For a revolutionary trade union federation such as Cosatu, it is almost a heresy for the Cosatu NOB's to stoop so low as to bring very serious divisions amongst workers along racial and ethnic lines. At the birth of Cosatu, non-racialism was a key cornerstone. The Cosatu NOB's have now crossed that line. But of course their faction shall defend them, whatever the cost.

5. Discipline against Cde Zwelinzima Vavi:

The unfair approach to the discipline of Comrade Zwelinzima Vavi by the Cosatu National Office Bearers is sickening to say the least. The following experiences tell a horrific picture of the abuse of power by the Cosatu National Office Bearers;

The disciplinary charges are leaked to the media to publicly embarrass the Cosatu General Secretary before he had an opportunity to defend himself against the 9 charges.

A decision is taken to use the subscription money of workers to appoint the best legal mind (Senior Counsel) in South Africa to Chair the Enquiry of Vavi (Such SC's charge nothing less than R40 000 - R50 000 a day). In addition the Cosatu NOB's shall engage the services of another Senior Counsel (another R40 000 - R50 000 a day) to prosecute on behalf of Cosatu. When the Cosatu General Secretary asked for the same assistance, he was denied the right to the same legal representation that the Cosatu NOB's have accorded themselves. The last time we checked it was affiliates who pay affiliation fees, drawn from workers' subscriptions, not the Cosatu National Office Bearers.

There is clearly a political motivation for this unacceptable behaviour by the Cosatu NOB's and their faction. This is tantamount to the squandering of workers' moneys.


No significant worker struggle has been taken up by Cosatu since September 2012 and therefore calling for a Special National Congress is not an option, it is a must if we are to rescue the Cosatu of Elijah Barayi and Jay Naidoo.

It is now clear for everyone to see that Cosatu is transforming into a conveyor belt and toy telephone.

South Africans and the world must be rest assured that Numsa shall fight the bitter fight to stay in Cosatu even after we are suspended or expelled.

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