Make or break for Vavi? 4 possible outcomes of today’s CEC meeting

Vavi1 Make or break for Vavi? 4 possible outcomes of today’s CEC meeting

Leaders from labour federation Cosatu affiliates trickled in for the federation’s special central executive meeting where general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi’s future will be discussed today.

Union officials masked their tense mood by joking and smiling.

National Union of Mineworkers general secretary Frans Baleni and his counterpart at the National Union of Metalworkers, Irvin Jim, were seen entering Cosatu House in Braamfontein after 10am, the time the meeting was originally due to start.

Neither of them had any comment, although Jim, an ally of Vavi, quipped with the handful of photographers and reporters standing outside, asking: “What is happening?”.

Baleni, one of Vavi’s detractors, just smiled.

Teachers’ union Sadtu’s Thobile Ntola, who was suspended yesterday, reportedly for giving Vavi a platform to address Sadtu members in the Eastern Cape two weeks ago and for commenting to the media that the region accepted Vavi’s apology, was not spotted at the meeting.

Ntola, an ally of Vavi, speculated that he was suspended because Vavi’s detractors didn’t want to see him attend the meeting.

The meeting kicked off at 11am, about an hour late.

Inside Cosatu’s boardroom, officials tried hard to seem jovial. Vavi was not there when photographers went in for the photo shoot, but was ushered in after, according to City Press photographer Leon Sadiki.

On the agenda are Vavi’s media utterances and his relationship with a Cosatu junior employee. Although she dropped the rape charge, the labour federation argues that Vavi has brought it into disrepute.

It could decide one of four things:
1. The most likely – a compromise option – could be to postpone the issues to be discussed at the special meeting to the federation’s ordinary meeting next month. Vavi’s allies have argued that earlier allegations of fraud and corruption against him were discussed at ordinary meetings.

2. The central executive committee, however, has the power to sanction Vavi if his detractors manage to out-argue his allies.

3. Or it could go in his favour and all the allegations could be dropped.

4. The decision could also be referred to a special congress of Cosatu affiliates. Vavi is said to have a lot of grassroots support in the federation.

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