CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU poloko.tau@city­press.co.za

he new gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Na­tional Union of Minework­ers (NUM) is set to ruf­fle feath­ers in his quest for the re­in­state­ment into labour fed­er­a­tion Cosatu of the ousted Zwelinz­ima Vavi and me­tal­work­ers’ union Numsa.

Sipunzi has al­ready had a chat with Vavi, but he was quick to say it had merely been a cour­tesy call from the for­mer Cosatu gen­eral sec­re­tary con­grat­u­lat­ing him on his new role.

Sipunzi’s rad­i­cal views, which in­clude his dec­la­ra­tion that Cosatu mem­bers are not obliged to join the ANC, will not go down well with the fac­tion that sup­ports Sdumo Dlamini, pres­i­dent of the labour fed­er­a­tion.

It has been plain sail­ing for the Dlamini fac­tion since eight unions boy­cotted Cosatu’s cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee fol­low­ing Numsa’s ex­pul­sion. The eight unions are still de­cid­ing whether to at­tend Cosatu’s spe­cial na­tional congress early next month. The ar­rival of Sipunzi will add a strong voice to the calls for the re­in­state­ment of both Vavi and Numsa.

Un­der for­mer gen­eral sec­re­tary Frans Baleni, the NUM was fully be­hind Dlamini and had been in­stru­men­tal in the sacking of Vavi and be­hind the fed­er­a­tion get­ting rid of Numsa.

But the elec­tion of Sipunzi has changed the game and could dras­ti­cally al­ter the re­la­tion­ship be­tween not only Cosatu and the mine work­ers’ union, but the greater al­liance with the ANC.

Sipunzi seemed to rub Dlamini up the wrong way this week when he spoke out about his de­sire for the re­in­state­ment of Vavi and Numsa, and that work­ers did not need to sup­port the ANC-led tri­par­tite al­liance to be Cosatu mem­bers. Dlamini later told a daily news­pa­per that Sipunzi’s com­ments were “un­called for and un­for­tu­nate”.

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