Mail and Guardian

Plans are being laid for the downfall of trade union federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in the run-up to the labour federation’s national congress next month.

Cosatu’s Zwelinzima Vavi

Senior union leaders of Cosatu affiliates and from the South African Communist Party, the ANC’s and Cosatu’s alliance partner, have held behind-the-scenes meetings recently to discuss a strategy to remove him from the position, the Mail & Guardian has established.

Fikile Majola, general secretary of the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), is being touted to replace Vavi, who has become a thorn in the side of those seeking the re-election of President Jacob Zuma as ANC president in December. Unlike Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini, who is seen as a Zuma ally, Vavi has been vocal in criticising the ruling party and government under Zuma’s watch.

This appears to have created a rift between him and other senior leaders in the federation. There has also been a falling-out between Vavi and Zuma.

The Cosatu congress is expected to set the tone for the ANC conference in Mangaung in December. Those who support Dlamini in lobbying for Zuma’s re-election include Majola, National Union of Mineworkers’ general secretary Frans Baleni, South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) general secretary Mugwena Maluleke and National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) president Senzeni Zokwana.

Vavi is believed to be in favour of leadership change in the ANC, although he has not said so publicly. His supporters among Cosatu leaders include National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa general secretary Irvin Jim, Sadtu president Thobile Ntola and South African Municipal Workers’ Union general secretary Mthandeki Nhlapo.  Read more…