The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has suspended four national office bearers for allegedly bringing the union into disrepute.
Saftu was briefing the media on Sunday regarding the outcome of its National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting.
The four national office bearers (NOBs) who were suspended are Saftu’s President Mac Chavalala, its second Deputy President, National Treasurer and Deputy General Secretary.
The trade union federation said the suspended members abused their power over the suspension of Zwelinzima Vavi.
Vavi was accused of financial and administrative violations in a letter issued by the union’s president over a week ago.
He was asked to submit an explanation as to why he should not be suspended, but Saftu said that was unconstitutional.
During the briefing, secretary-general of Democratised Transport Logistics and Allied Workers Union (Detawu) Vusi Ntshangase said the NEC discussed the recent two weeks of turmoil that engulfed the federation following Vavi’s suspension.
“Following an intense and robust discussion amongst the delegates which lasted for many hours on the constitutionality of the NOBs decision to suspend the general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, a motion was moved to suspend the four national office bearers of Saftu that orchestrated such a suspension.”
“Following further deliberations on the motion and consideration on other alternatives, the matter was eventually put to a vote.”
“The overwhelming members of the NEC decided to place four members of the NOB on suspension immediately. The view of the NEC is that the four comrades wilfully and deliberately usurped the powers of the NEC and acted ultra vires in suspending the secretary-general,” Ntshangase explained.
Ntshangase said for two weeks, Saftu was subjected to “ridicule and utter embarrassment”.
Speaking during the media briefing in Boksburg, Vavi said the trade union federation has found itself in a very difficult situation.
“Now that we are finding ourselves in this situation, we regret it, I regret it and all of us that are here, together with the leaders of the NEC say this is perhaps the darkest hour in the federation. We have been defocused from the real issues that workers were expecting a young federation to deal with. We are not feeling vindicated or are happily rejoicing.”
Vavi said Saftu believes that this matter should not have arisen and that the federation should have rather focused on campaigns aimed at building the organisation.