Vavi has been ‘set up’

2013-07-28 14:00

Sympathisers of Cosatu leader Zwelinzima Vavi claim a “set-up” while his detractors say the rape scandal that broke yesterday has dented his squeaky clean image.

National Union of Metalworkers general secretary and Vavi ally Irvin Jim said they would monitor how “the enemies of the poor and the working class” would use Cosatu to get back at Vavi.

“Vavi has been under massive attacks and death threats from the enemies of the poor and working class whom Vavi speaks for.

If he quits now, he will be handing these forces their victory over the working class and the poor,” he said.

Another Vavi ally working for an affiliate questioned the timing of the charges.

“Why now? My suspicion is that the woman may be used by certain people in the federation and in the broader movement.”

Gertrude Mtsweni, Cosatu’s gender ­­coordinator, said she did not have any details of the incident but the internal process should take its course.

The union would meet about the issue soon.

One of Vavi’s detractors in affiliate an union, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “He projects himself as a virtuous, transparent straight-talking person, with no wrongdoing. If there was sexual assault, or even the fact that he can have sexual relations with a subordinate employed in the office, would not only compromise his standing, but also his life at home.”

Another said Vavi should step aside for now.

“A conduct of that nature compromises your leadership and under normal circumstances, you would want to give the organisation space by taking leave. I suspect that would be the right decision to take.”

Another leader of an affiliate said Vavi had not informed them before issuing yesterday’s statement.

He said there had been rumours in Cosatu circles about the incident before he heard the story on radio.

“We still don’t know what happened. We will have to wait for them (Cosatu). I am not sure why they spoke to you guys before speaking to us,” he said.

A member of the ANC national executive committee with knowledge of Cosatu said it was plucky and reckless of Vavi to get involved in extramarital relations with an employee.

He said the fact that the alleged rape had also happened in the workplace would compound his problems when he has to face those who want him ousted from the federation.

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