Riot police were called into a Durban hotel to keep Numsa members separated from other members of Cosatu affiliates this morning.
Newly-reinstated Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi had been excepted to address a Numsa shop-steward meeting at the Coastlands Hotel in the Durban city centre.
However, when the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) members arrived they found the venue they had booked was occupied by various Cosatu affiliates, including SA Democratic Teachers Union members.
On both sides, numerous members were singing and chanting some of whom had various weapons like umbrellas and sticks while others wore T-shirts bearing President Jacob Zuma’s image.
Democratic Nursing Organisation of SA KwaZulu-Natal secretary Cassim Lekhoati could be seen negotiating in a bid to secure alternative venues for the two different groups.
It is understood that the hotel opened the venue to Cosatu-affiliated members without realising that it had in fact been booked by Numsa.
Suspension set aside
In August last year, Cosatu said Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair with a junior employee.
In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.
Following Vavi’s suspension Numsa, an ally of his, lodged an application in the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg challenging the decision.
On Friday, the High Court set aside Vavi’s suspension.
Cosatu had been split between affiliates supporting Vavi and those supporting his suspension.