Vavi In Quandary Over New SA Workers' Front

The man in the middle of the Cosatu row is confronted with one of the biggest decisions in his life. Turn his back on the labour federation or lead a new workers’ front spearheaded by Numsa.

Zwelinzima Vavi, who’s been Cosatu General Secretary since 1999, says he doesn’t want future generations to spit on his grave, accusing him of not trying hard enough.

Vavi’s staged a no-show at the post CEC presser on Tuesday, drawing as much attention as Cosatu’s defence of its biggest affiliate’s shock expulsion.

But Cosatu President, Sdumo Dlamini, tried to downplay Vavi’s perceived snub of the press conference to defence the federation’s decision, saying Vavi had gone to sign papers.

It also emerged that Vavi hadn’t signed Numsa’s expulsion letter, further adding fuel to the speculation that he could be headed for an exit from the country’s biggest labour union.

About 24 hours later a letter was leaked from Vavi explaining his untenable position, contradicting Dlamini’s explanation regarding Vavi’s absence from the press conference.  

Vavi says he couldn’t defend a decision that he believes will destroy the federation.

However, on a more conciliatory note, he says there is still a chance to save Cosatu.

Asked for his response, Dlamini told the SABC that the letter posed a dilemma for them, and a decision on the communication would be taken after lengthy consultation.

Economic and Political Analyst, Terry Bell, says: “The letter he’s written … if you look at it, basically says I don’t care who’s right and who’s wrong, let’s get together. But the only way they can get together is through a Special National Congress, which has been called 15 months ago. The point is Vavi, as a General Secretary of Cosatu, is bound by the decisions of the majority of the CEC.”

Earlier Vavi tweeted: “I don’t want future generations to spit on my grave saying i did not try hard enough.”