Zwelinzima Vavi emerges victorious!

Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi. Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave
Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi. Photo: Gallo Images / Sowetan / Antonio Muchave

SOUTH African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi retained his position when he was re-elected at a fiercely contested elective congress on Wednesday, 25 May.

Vavi survived a relentless push from the all powerful National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), led by his former friend and now bitter rival general secretary Irvin Jim, who wanted him out following a fallout between the two influential figures in the federation.

It was not a clean sweep for the Vavi-led faction though, as Numsa-backed candidate Motshwari Lecogo was elected national treasurer and Matsose Thabo as first deputy president.

The other national officials that emerged from the congress were Luzipho Nontembeko who was elected deputy general secretary, Ntlokotse Ruth as president and Maredi Mosina as second deputy president.

The elections were eventually held after a heated debate in the congress over four suspended officials. The debate led to a motion by Numsa to reinstate these officials and allow them to vote which was defeated in the ballot.

But after Numsa threatened to walk out of the conference, which would have collapsed it, a caucus by affiliated unions came to the conclusion that the officials should be allowed to contest the elections.

The suspended officials were president Mac Chavalala, first deputy president Matsose, national treasurer Lecogo, and Moleko Phakedi for deputy general secretary, who are all candidates on the Numsa slate.

Of the four only Lecogo and Matsose emerged victorious.

The congress is expected to wrap up today, 26 May, after days of bitter wrangling about the contestation of the officials.

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