Cosatu probing corruption allegations

2013-05-29 15:46
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi speaks at a news conference in Johannesburg. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi speaks at a news conference in Johannesburg. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Vavi addresses corruption

2013-03-13 09:53

Cosatu Secretary General Zwelinzima Vavi stressed allegations of corruption must be investigated. Watch his spirited address.WATCH

Johannesburg - Cosatu says it is probing corruption allegations against general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, but he will continue to serve in his position.

"There is no question that can arise about any of the leaders here," Congress of SA Trade Unions president Sidumo Dlamini told reporters in Johannesburg.

"They have been elected at congress... They are not deterred or embargoed to perform their duties, including the general-secretary of the federation."

Cosatu was briefing the media after holding its central executive committee (CEC) meeting earlier this week.

Vavi said the CEC took a special resolution to continue "discussions" about the allegations of corruption in the sale of Cosatu's headquarters building, which allegedly implicated him.

He said it was "grossly unfair" to ask him to step down before the probe had been concluded.

He could not discuss whether there had been any calls in the CEC meeting for him to step down.

"No organisation works like that. It is an internal discussion."

'Issues'

The CEC had agreed that it was important to complete the discussion of "some problematic ideological, organisational, and administrative issues" that arose at an earlier CEC meeting.

Vavi said former president of the SA Municipal Workers' Union Petrus Mashishi and labour lawyer Charles Nupen were requested to facilitate discussions on these issues at that meeting.

"They gave the CEC a report of the meetings which had taken place - and some which had not taken place - and some problems which had arisen, which had led to the process failing to resolve the issues under discussion."

Vavi said the CEC resolved that the internal process continue, and all affiliated unions and Cosatu national office-bearers could make submissions.

"The facilitators will provide an opportunity to all accused of wrong-doing to respond to any allegations contained in the submissions."

Auditing firm Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo had been appointed to do a forensic audit on the building's sale.

The CEC had resolved that the firm would be handed a file containing the background of the sale, which would form a part of his own submission.

The auditors would conclude their report at the end of June. The CEC would meet in July to discuss the reports, he said.

In March, there were calls for Vavi to be investigated after allegations of corruption in the acquisition of Cosatu's new headquarters.

Unity

He denied that unity in Cosatu was beginning to collapse and that the organisation was split.

"After a thorough two-day-long discussion the CEC resolved to fight harder than ever before for the workers," he said.

"We have to show them that we are not splitting or paralysed, as the media and their 'sources' want us to believe."

Allegations that he was involved in the headquarters building sale were given to the media by "ghost" sources.

"We do admit that an environment has been created in the public that there is something amiss in the sale and purchase of the building," Vavi said.

"If any union has something about that matter it has an opportunity to go directly to the auditors."

He said it was natural for any organisation to have internal differences.

"No such [perfect] organisation exists in the world. There will never be a world where individuals do not debate before agreeing on tactical and strategic issues," Vavi said.

"Even my own twins at home can never agree to everything."

Vavi again denied being involved in any corruption.

"All I know is that I have done absolutely nothing wrong as an individual. That is why... I have said anyone who can produce evidence that indeed what the sources are saying is true, then they won't see me here.

"There will be no hearing, there will be no divisions in the federations, there will be no commission of inquiry. If such evidence is produced I will do want I always ask people to do: save Cosatu, [and] walk," he said.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  politics

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