Vavi urges Zuma to clamp down on graft

2011-06-29 09:59

Labour federation Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi has challenged President Jacob Zuma to lead the charge in the fight against corruption, saying his government could turn things around by intensifying the fight against corruption.

Speaking to the media after delivering his secretariat report to the Cosatu central committee meeting in Midrand, Vavi said Zuma could follow in the footsteps of former Brazilian president, Lula da Silva, who successfully tackled corruption and unemployment in the South American country before he left office.

Lula, a former trade unionist, did so after coming under pressure from his broad left constituency.

Suggesting that Zuma’s lukewarm reception at the labour federation’s mid-term indaba was due to Cosatu’s unhappiness with his lacklustre record on these issues, Vavi said the president should come down hard on those implicated in corruption in the ANC and government.

He cited ANC chairperson Nceba Faku, who has allegedly been fingered by an investigation into the financial problems facing the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, as one of the people who should be forced to step down pending an investigation.

He said the same should happen to Northern Cape ANC chairperson John Block, who is facing corruption charges. He questioned why Block remains in power when he could use his influence to scupper the investigation into his conduct.

He also said that Zuma could personally call wrongdoers and tell them “where to get off”.

“When we saying decisive action on corruption like Lula did, we mean the type of action that can inspire confidence in the ANC and society in general.”

He said that, ideally, the labour federation did not want a change in ANC leadership next year, but the ANC leadership needed to pull up its socks and unite society behind the values of the organisation.

“This thing of saying people must be left in their posts when they are facing heavy allegations of corruption, in my view, does not work any more,” he said.

Ironically, Vavi was among those who successfully defended Zuma when he faced serious corruption charges before he ascended to power.

“When you face heavy allegations and you are allowed to be an MEC or a leader of a region or province, it can only tell our people that there is nobody who is prepared to act decisively on our behalf,” Vavi said.

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