Court order to protect Samwu’s brand

Johannesburg – The South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) has obtained an urgent interdict to stop its former members and leaders from using its logo, branding and from marketing an event scheduled for Saturday morning under Samwu’s name.



SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) strikers chant slogans as they march. File photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

The disgruntled former members, calling themselves Save Our Samwu (SOS) have organised a Workers’ Imbizo at the Unisa Examination Centre in Ormonde, south of Johannesburg. Dismissed Cosatu general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi and his Numsa counterpart, Irvin Jim are billed to address the gathering.

The court order, which is expected to throw a spanner in the works of an already tense relationship between the Samwu leadership and the group in question, was granted on Friday afternoon in the South Gauteng High Court.

The order also stops the splinter group from: “distributing misinformation about Samwu and its activities.

Samwu has been hit by internal squabbles after a group of the union’s members accused its leadership of looting millions of rands from the union’s coffers. The arrest of a former union consultant, Samuel Phaswane who faces charges of theft involving R7 million also lead to more speculation of grand theft in the organisation.

Members of SOS have been branded dissidents by the Samwu leadership.

The poster used to advertise the event themed, “Defiant To The End” lists founding Samwu members as its guests of honour.

Samwu was part of the original group of eight Cosatu unions which challenged the federation’s central executive committee decision to expel Numsa. It also joined other unions which include farmworkers union (Fawu) in litigation to force the president of Cosatu to host a Special National Congress.

However the union’s special central executive committee hosted in March had a dramatic change of heart, distancing itself its former expelled ally, Numsa and the fight for a special congress. Just yesterday, its general secretary, Walter Theledi issued a statement welcoming the former Cosatu general secretary’s sacking.

Vavi, along with Numsa and the remaining group of Cosatu unions in its fold, have been dressing hundreds of workers across the country as they seek a mandate on how to deal with the challenges in Cosatu. They have vowed to give ordinary workers the chance to voice their opinions on whether the group should abandon its fight within Cosatu or stay the course.