Disgruntled "former members" of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) on Monday disrupted a Cosatu central executive committee meeting in a bid to vent their frustration.
Samwu spokesperson Papikie Mohale said members who disrupted the meeting were not Samwu members in good standing as they were expelled from the union in March 2016.
Samwu has been rocked by upheaval, with whistle-blowers‚ Save Our Samwu (SOS)‚ alleging that the union’s financial reserves have been looted.
In February 2016‚ about 87 Samwu officials and leaders across the country were either expelled or suspended after they allegedly questioned the missing millions from Samwu coffers.
On Monday Mohale said: "There are no grievances that have been raised by Samwu members in Cosatu so I would assume that whoever is behind this would not be our members.
"We are for a united Cosatu and we believe that Cosatu should proceed in doing its work. We are looking forward to the central committee and it would not be in our interest to disrupt this meeting as it is sitting now‚" said Mohale.
"I received a report from our Johannesburg region informing me about something of this nature taking place and they have assured me that [these] are not our members‚ [instead they are] ... people who have been expelled from the union. There is no way that this could be our members‚" said Mohale.
He reiterated that "legit" Samwu members would not defeat the purpose of fixing the union’s problems.
"Our members are disciplined‚ they would not even [go] to an extent of disrupting a meeting that is supposed to make sure that the work of the federation continues," Mohale added. "These are just people who continue to use the union’s name and who put our name into disrepute while they know very well that they are not within Samwu."
However‚ when contacted for comment‚ Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said those "members" made a request to be given some time to address the one-day special central executive meeting (CEC) of Cosatu to raise their concerns.
"After the agreement with the entire CEC‚ they were allowed to come inside the venue so that we could hear their grievances. I’m not in the meeting but I’m sure they are here to discuss some of the issues that were raised last year when some members of Samwu wanted Cosatu to take over Samwu‚" said Pamla.
He said that was not possible as the Labour Relations Act did not allow a federation to take over its affiliates under administration.
"I’m sure they are here to raise issues that pertain to the difficulties that the union is experiencing. We are obviously not going to communicate that on their behalf because we have been intervening with affiliates with regards to infighting that [is] taking place."
Cosatu will hold its sixth central committee meeting between May 29 and June 1 at St George’s Conference Centre‚ Irene, Pretoria.
Pamla said the purpose of the four-day meeting would be to make an assessment of the implementation of Cosatu’s 12th national congress resolutions and campaigns. The meeting would also be used to prepare for the ANC’s policy and consultative conferences and the South African Communist Party’s (SACP’s) congress.