Vavi accepts 'humiliating' censure

2013-08-10 11:01
Zwelinzima Vavi (File, Sapa)

Zwelinzima Vavi (File, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi on Friday accepted the censure imposed on him by Corruption Watch.

"I have accepted that censure, humiliating as that may be. I am not above the discipline of our organisations," he said in a speech prepared for delivery.

Vavi was addressing members of the SA Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) during their regional biennial general meeting in Buffalo City, East London.

The censure came after Vavi admitted the impropriety of having a relationship with a woman employed by the Cosatu.

He said he was determined not to allow the events of the recent past and the wrath it has invited from all angles, whether genuine or malicious, to sway his focus.

Vavi said he had to draw important lessons from the unfortunate experience.

Stand against injustice

Corruption Watch said in a statement earlier that Vavi would remain on their board.

"The board has met with Mr Vavi and after a consideration of the facts, and after Mr Vavi had recused himself as he did not wish to influence the deliberations, the board has unanimously agreed that Mr Vavi will remain on the board."

Last week, the woman withdrew her sexual harassment grievance against him during a hearing.

Vavi also called on the public to stand against all forms of injustice faced by women and girls.

"Patriarchy, gender based violence, poor access to skills development and decent employment," he said. Despite the many advances the country had made since 1994, women were still economically triply oppressed and exploited.

"They bear the brunt of the crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality, in a society in which white males still dominate the economy and women form the majority of those without jobs and living on the breadline," he said.

Vavi said women suffered from outrageous levels of gender-based violence, and claimed that a woman is murdered by her male partner every six hours. He estimated that at least 150 women are raped each day.


"We saw a grotesque example this week in Ceres, where a 4-month-old baby girl was raped. It is hard to find words to describe such depravity," he said.

Vavi said as teachers, Sadtu members had a special responsibility to wage war on sexism and inculcate humane values and attitudes in future generations.

Vavi said as the country would be celebrating the end of the second decade of democracy, the economy of the country has not been radically transformed to benefit the majority of South Africans.

He said an aspect of the problem, which must concern the teachers, was that an estimated 72% of the unemployed are young people between 15 and 36 years of age.

"The stark reality is that most of the learners in your classes today, particularly in the poorer areas, have next-to-no chance of finding a job.

"Even the 5% minority who get access to higher education are not assured of employment," he said.

Earlier, Corruption Watch said it took into account the fact that any sexual relationship between a senior staff member and a junior member "is almost inevitably infected by the relationship of power that exists between them". It said senior staff members had a responsibility to avoid such relationships. The organisation said it also took into account the "deplorable level" of gender violence and abuse in South Africa.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  rape  |  gender equality

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