Cosatu and Numsa head for clash

Eric Naki

Eric Naki

The Congress of SA Trade Unions is headed for a big showdown with the National Union of Metalworkers of SA after Cosatu charged Numsa's general secretary, Silumko Nondwangu, with misconduct for being nominated on the Thabo Mbeki camp list prior to Polokwane.

On Friday, Cosatu deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali sent Nondwangu a list of three charges of misconduct against him.

Cosatu alleges that Nondwangu failed to comply with Cosatu's position and decisions, concealed from Cosatu his nomination as an ANC NEC member, and caused organisational disunity by participating in the nomination process while knowing it would provoke serious divisions and cause confusion in the federation.

Yesterday, Numsa in Gauteng expressed anger at Cosatu's move to charge Nondwangu, saying they would not take it lying down.

The union's Ekurhuleni region vowed to defend Nondwangu, arguing the Polokwane ANC conference was not a union or Cosatu matter but a party political issue.

"The charges are ill-informed. Nondwangu was given a mandate by our central committee to accept the nomination after he explained to us that he was nominated. We said he must accept the nomination," said Stanley Ndobo, Numsa's Ekurhuleni chairman.

Ndobo said Cosatu's action went against the spirit of the federation's own constitution that the autonomy of its affiliates must be respected. He said the region would decide on the course of action to oppose the Cosatu decision to charge their leader.

Sedibeng Numsa chairman Engineer Kgapula described the Cosatu action as "nonsense".

"We are going to defend Silumko. We regard him as our hero. We are prepared to march to Cosatu House to protest against their harassment of our leader," said Kgapula.

The charges against Nondwangu come a month before Numsa's national congress. Some within the union say the action is a ploy by some Cosatu individuals to discredit Nondwangu so that he is not re-elected as the union's general secretary.