Johannesburg – Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) president Sidumo Dlamini must resign, unions sympathetic to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) said on Thursday.

“We are of the firm view that the Cosatu president, as head of the federation, must resign with immediate effect because he no longer enjoys the confidence of workers in the private sector of the SA economy and the public sector,” said Moleko Phakedi, deputy secretary of the Food and Allied Workers Union, on behalf of the unions.

“He failed dismally to lead the federation. Cosatu is at its weakest form ever in history. Sidumo cannot provide the leadership needed.”

He said Dlamini and some of his national office bearers acted on behalf of their “faction” to the detriment of the unity of the federation.

The unions wanted Numsa to be reinstated unconditionally.

He said the unions had also resolved not to participate in any discussion, formal or informal, until Numsa was reinstated.

Phakedi said the seven unions supported Numsa’s decision to appeal its expulsion.

Numsa, an ally of Cosatu general secretary Zwelimzima Vavi and Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, was expelled from Cosatu earlier this month.

Numsa had taken Cosatu to court over Vavi’s suspension for having an affair with a junior employee. Earlier this year the suspension was overturned and Vavi returned to work.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim said the union was challenging its expulsion legally and was also appealing the expulsion.

He said the union was also going on “the ground” to explain to workers that their federation was “stolen” by a powerful faction in a boardroom.

“We are mobilising workers to reclaim Cosatu and explaining to them that a powerful faction has stolen their federation.

“We are busy mobilising the workers to be united and build the federation from the ground. Numsa was expelled in a boardroom and not by workers.”

He said Numsa was resolute in mobilising the workers to take forward the Cosatu resolutions.

‘Genuine peace, not a cosmetic make-up’

SA Football Players Union (Safpu) general secretary Thulaganyo Gaoshubelwe said the union wanted unity and peace in Cosatu.

“We are interested in the unity and peace in the federation. We want genuine peace and not a cosmetic make-up,” he said.

Last week Cosatu announced a political process, involving alliance partner the African National Congress, which would start with the aim of uniting the trade union federation. The union wanted the Cosatu special national congress to be held in January and not later than March.

They said the congress should debate the failure to implement the Cosatu 2012 national congress resolutions, and failure to implement Cosatu’s March 2013 collective bargaining, organising and campaigns resolutions.

The unions wanted the congress to also elect new office bearers committed to Cosatu resolutions and campaigns.

The seven unions held a joint national executive committee meeting on Saturday. The unions said they would not break away from Cosatu despite their members urging them to establish a new independent, worker controlled and democratic federation.