Daily Maverick (Johannesburg)

South Africa: Vavi Returns to Cosatu House - Full-Blown War Looms

analysis

"The call is coming from inside the house!" is the chilling line when a well-known psychological thriller climaxes, before the hapless protagonist is urged to get out immediately. Zwelinzima Vavi knows very well that the danger is inside the house, and yet, for eight months, he has been fighting to go back in.

On Monday, he gets to do just that, following a ruling by the South Gauteng High Court that his suspension from Cosatu was invalid. The raging battle in Cosatu climaxes this week, with the fate of Vavi and metalworkers union Numsa to be decided at a special central executive committee meeting. Numsa is fighting expulsion, calling Cosatu leaders "Stalinist" and "jaundiced" in a hard-hitting submission to the federation.

Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini and the federation's general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi used to be good friends and comrades. They found common cause in defending President Jacob Zuma in his criminal trials and supporting his bid to topple Thabo Mbeki as ANC president. They also worked together to get Willie Madisha expelled as Cosatu president and for Dlamini to take his position. It is probably the memory of this relationship which caused Vavi's wife Noluthando to remark...

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