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‘No right’ – Saftu’s Vavi rubbishes recall manoeuvre by Numsa’s Jim

‘No right’ – Saftu’s Vavi rubbishes recall manoeuvre by Numsa’s Jim
Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has responded to a call by Irvin Jim, the Numsa general secretary, that he be recalled. (Archive Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Zwelinzima Vavi has swatted aside the Numsa’s recall gambit, saying he has never been a member of the union.

Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), has blasted the attempt to recall him from his post by the national executive committee of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa).

In a 7 March letter, Vavi dismissed the premise of Numsa’s recall gambit, saying “there is no such concept as a deployee” in Saftu’s constitution. Furthermore, he writes that he has never been a member of Numsa and that the metalworkers’ union “has no right to discipline or recall” him.

Numsa is the largest trade union in the country and is affiliated to Saftu. We reported on Wednesday that Irvin Jim, Numsa’s general secretary, had written to Vavi, giving him notice that Numsa’s executive intended to recall him.

Vavi asks why Jim’s recall attempt cannot “be interpreted as a deliberate and sinister move to destabilise the federation?”

Vavi accuses Numsa’s leadership of sour grapes, trying to “undermine the product of a democratic process because… it never got its way when its nominee for general secretary [of Saftu] failed to be elected”.


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Vavi says he has written four times to Numsa’s leadership, requesting a meeting to iron out differences, all of which have been ignored. Overtures from other Numsa officials to the top brass seeking mediation on federation-union tensions have also been ignored, he says.

Read in Daily Maverick:Irvin Jim moves to push Zwelinzima Vavi out of Saftu over ‘attacks’ on Numsa

Vavi called again for a meeting between the federation and the union, as well as for Numsa to participate in Saftu’s campaigns, to implement the resolutions agreed to at the federation’s national congress last year, and to “consistently pay Numsa’s affiliation fees”.

Saftu spokesperson Trevor Shaku told GroundUp that the federation was not issuing a public response or comment on the letter.

Numsa spokesperson Phakamile Hlubi-Majola said the organisation had no comment. DM

First published by GroundUp.

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