Cosatu president urges members not to make wild accusations about Vavi

2013-07-29 08:21

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Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini urged its members today not to make “wild accusations” about the union federation’s general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

Vavi faced an internal grievance hearing today following a complaint of sexual harassment by a colleague.

“I’m not going to respond to that question... (of) political conspiracies,” Dlamini told SAfm in an interview today.

“We have to be careful not to flout internal procedures by making wild accusations, and we must respect the processes that are put in place.

“I want to call upon everybody in the federation to respect internal processes without making these allegations. Everybody is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

He confirmed that a “grievance matter of sexual harassment” would be heard against Vavi today.

“I do not want to discuss it publicly,” said Dlamini.

“It’s an internal process ... I’m not going to talk about the details.”

On Saturday, Vavi released an internal complaint by the woman in which she accused him of rape.

On Friday, Vavi confirmed the allegations but denied he had raped her. On Saturday, he publicly released his entire statement to Cosatu, in which he defends himself against the rape claims.

He admitted to having sex with the complainant in a Cosatu office in January – days before his wife Noluthando gave birth to their twins – after an affair that began in October last year.

“I have to be truthful to the public. I have had to deal with my family for not being faithful and it is a difficult matter. I apologise to everyone for having had an affair while I have a perfect marriage.

“I shouldn’t have done that. It was a bad error on my side. I shouldn’t have had a relationship at all,” Vavi told City Press.

“My wife was angry, but she has been forgiving to me and realised that I was being set up. It has been hard on the family, because we have children.”

The woman wrote an open letter to national weekly, the Sunday Times, in which she described how Vavi offered her a job at Cosatu without going through the correct processes.

She described how he “grabbed and kissed her” while she worked there, but she did not go into more details about the alleged incident.

The woman’s husband told national daily, The New Age, she would attend the hearing today.

“She (my wife) is caught between a rock and a hard place. She is seeking legal advice,” the husband was quoted as saying.

“We will be waiting for the outcome of the hearing.”

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