Just when you thought it couldn’t get uglier: Irvin Jim responds to Jessie Duarte

2013-08-06 17:03

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The National Union of Metalworkers' general secretary Irvin Jim has slammed ANC deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte for saying Zwelinzima Vavi had abused his position to get sex from his accuser.

Vavi, who leads labour federation Cosatu, faces possible disciplinary action from the federation for bringing it into disrepute.

The woman who accused him of raping her has since withdrawn the internal charge of sexual harassment.

Writing in City Press on Sunday, Duarte said Vavi should not use conspiracy claims to mask the exploitation of the woman.

This drew a sharp retort from Jim, who said Duarte had ignored the fact that Vavi’s accuser had allegedly demanded money from him.

Jim said Duarte herself lost her job as Gauteng’s MEC for safety and security in the 1990s over allegations of driving a state car without a licence and failing to report an accident on time, among other accusations.

“The 1998 Moerane Commission found that while acting as Gauteng Safety and Security MEC, Duarte had been guilty of mismanagement and maladministration, and that she had abused state funds by buying oversees air tickets for a friend ...

“The gentleman whom she was accused of having bought unauthorised air tickets to Portugal was widely rumoured to be her lover, at the time. Are we to conclude from this, without first hearing first hand from Jessie, that she too engineered ‘an abusive relationship’ for herself? We think not,” he wrote in an open response to Duarte.

When approached for comment, Duarte said her article was directed at Cosatu, adding she was not interested in “going for cheap shots”.

“Irvin is dirty. That’s how he works. There’s no measure of analytic substance (in what he says),” she said.

Jim said the ANC itself was not immune to sex scandals, saying members had lived with “scandalous sexual behaviour by senior leadership in the national liberation movement”.

“Today we hear from the grapevine of present day leaders who have been deceiving their wives or partners by having sexual encounters with fellow comrades or office staff or subordinates,” he said.

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