Cosatu meeting to decide on Vavi

2013-08-04 14:00

Labour federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi will face Cosatu’s top leadership tomorrow following his much-publicised sex scandal.

The meeting is expected to decide how the federation should handle Vavi’s admission that he had sexual intercourse with a married employee at the federation’s Braamfontein headquarters in January.

The woman initially alleged she was raped, but withdrew her complaint during a disciplinary hearing on Monday.

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini told City Press the federation’s top six leaders had not yet received a report from Vavi’s disciplinary hearing.

Dlamini said tomorrow’s meeting would decide whether to convene a special meeting of the federation’s central executive committee (CEC), which includes the presidents and general secretaries of affiliated unions, to discuss “the latest event” or wait for its scheduled meeting next month.

Vavi yesterday declined to comment. On Friday, he reportedly said he would pursue a court case against his accuser to clear his name. But questions linger about the impact of the sexual scandal on Cosatu’s reputation, and about why the woman was not employed in line with Cosatu’s procedures.

A leader of a Cosatu-affiliated union, who asked not to be named, lamented the way Vavi acted “clumsily” by talking about the charge against him and the disciplinary hearing.

He said for Vavi to spread information to the public before the committee’s report was released was a sign of disrespect for Cosatu’s leadership.

“There is a precedent in terms of the (former Cosatu president Willie) Madisha. When there was an accusation (against him), we called a CEC meeting and said there should be a special committee to investigate.

“We took a decision as the CEC to remove him,” said the union leader.

A unionist who sits in the CEC said there would be no need to call a CEC meeting to discuss the Vavi matter as the grievance had been withdrawn.

“In my view, they (Cosatu’s top leadership) will be abdicating their responsibility if they called a special CEC (meeting). They have powers to reprimand him,” he said.

A Cosatu source close to Vavi suggested a special CEC meeting could be bad news for Vavi as there are many leaders who are opposed to him.

“I think Cosatu will never be the same again. It is deeply divided,” said the source.

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