This came after a special national executive committee of the SA Democratic Teachers Union summarily suspended him on Tuesday for allowing embattled Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi to address the union’s gathering in the Eastern Cape a few days after his sex scandal made headlines.
The decision made Ntola the first casualty of the ongoing battle for the soul of the labour federation between supporters of Vavi and his rival, Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini.
It also came on the eve of Wednesday’s special Cosatu central executive committee (CEC) meeting that is expected to decide Vavi’s future as the federation’s general secretary in the wake of his embarrassing sex scandal.
The CEC, comprising the presidents and general secretaries of Cosatu-affiliated unions, is expected to cast a secret ballot on whether to suspend or discipline Vavi for allegedly bringing the federation into disrepute.
Vavi and Dlamini lead rival Cosatu factions that have had running battles over the federation’s socio-political ideology and whether to give President Jacob Zuma’s government unqualified support.
Vavi did not support Zuma’s re-election in Mangaung, while Dlamini is one of Zuma’s closest allies in the tripartite alliance.
Ntola, who is seen as close to Vavi, on Tuesday night confirmed his suspension.
“I was informed that I was put on suspension on two factors. The first was to allow Zwelinzima Vavi to address teachers in Port Elizabeth. The second was to comment on his speech. These were the reasons given for my suspension,” Ntola said.
“This is a legal matter. I will have to seek advice before taking any action against them.”
Ntola leads a pro-Vavi Sadtu faction. Sadtu general secretary Mugwena Maluleke is said to be leading the anti-Vavi group.
Maluleke on Tuesday declined to comment, saying his organisation did not allow him to discuss “internal matters” with the media.
But Sadtu members said the last straw for the union was Ntola’s decision to accompany Vavi when the Cosatu leader addressed Sadtu’s regional biennial general meeting in Port Elizabeth on August 2.
According to some sources, Ntola was not given permission to accompany Vavi to the meeting, which took place just days after Vavi’s sex scandal broke.
Ntola’s suspension came a day after Cosatu’s biggest affiliate, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), denounced Vavi’s sex scandal as a second, desperate attempt by his rivals to kick him out of Cosatu.
Numsa blamed a “factionalist” Dlamini for attempts to marginalise Vavi.
The union added it had since lost confidence in Dlamini.
* Cape Town – A photograph has surfaced showing ANC national executive member Tony Yengeni’s white Maserati without its front number plate, at the time its driver was arrested for alleged drunk driving.
The Italian sports car appears to be a “GranCabrio” coupé, and is seen between the CBD and Green Point, where Yengeni was arrested at 10.55pm on Sunday at the corner of Somerset and Dixon roads, according to the police.
Reports from Sunday night vary as to whether Yengeni was alone in the car when stopped or had a passenger.
After Yengeni had been tested on a hand-held Breathalyser, he was taken to have blood drawn to determine his blood alcohol level at the dedicated Shadow centre in Athlone.
It is understood his Maserati was then driven by a metro police officer to Cape Town central police station, where Yengeni spent the night.
Yengeni will have to wait a full six months until his court appearance on March 4, 2014, police reported. The delay is owing to massive backlogs at forensics laboratories.
This is not the first time Yengeni has been stopped for failing to display a number plate.
A Maserati driven by Yengeni was stopped in July last year in Cape Town for driving without a front number plate, and for an expired licence disc.
The city’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, said at the time: “They pulled him off for not displaying his front number plate, and as they were preparing to give him a fine, they discovered that the vehicle registration on his window had actually expired.
“He produced the number plate, which they said he must fix immediately. He had an updated disc with him, but he had failed to display it, so they gave him a R500 fine and a R300 alternative fine.”
Smith was quoted last year as saying it was common for drivers to deliberately drive without number plates to avoid speed cameras, and often claimed their plates had “fallen off”.
But it appears Yengeni’s Maserati’s missing front number plate is common to Maseratis around the world – as the marque’s cars are not manufactured or sold with number plate holders.