Four Saftu national office bearers suspended

The SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) on Saturday confirmed it had suspended four of its national office bearers .

The trade union said in a statement it would hold a media briefing on Sunday at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg to communicate decisions made during its national executive committee (NEC) meeting held on Saturday.

TimesLIVE understands the four suspensions included the president, second deputy president, national treasurer and deputy general secretary.

“The motion passed with 28 votes versus two and 11 abstained. Numsa did not vote because they are not in good standing,” said the source.

The Sunday Times reported that a bitter falling out between erstwhile labour allies Zwelinzima Vavi and Irvin Jim appeared to be the cause of the ructions in the five-year-old Saftu last week.

Vavi, who is general secretary of the federation, told the Sunday Times that Jim — head of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) — was behind the “trumped-up charges” that his Saftu colleagues have cited as reasons to suspend him.

Vavi, former general secretary of the Cosatu trade union federation, said his relationship with Jim soured after the Saftu leadership rejected his plea to endorse the Socialist Revolutionary Workers’ Party (SRWP), which was launched by Numsa to contest the 2019 elections. Numsa is a Saftu affiliate.

Jim and Vavi were close allies at Cosatu before they were both expelled in 2015, after which Saftu was launched. Before his departure from Cosatu, Vavi was accused of, among other things, having used a union credit card to pay for flights for his wife and ex-wife.

The divisions between Vavi and Jim were laid bare last week when messages exchanged in a WhatsApp group were leaked.

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