Vavi 'strengthened' by Twitter attack

2015-07-21 12:27
Zwelinzima Vavi (Netwerk24)

Zwelinzima Vavi (Netwerk24)

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WATCH: Cosatu delayed Numsa, Vavi discussions during special congress

2015-07-15 15:15

Labour Analyst Terry Bell attended Cosatu's special national congress this week. He says the union managed to delay talks about the future of expelled Numsa and Zwelinzima Vavi. Watch.WATCH

Johannesburg - Former Congress of SA Trade Unions secretary general Zwelinzima Vavi is unperturbed by the Twitter attack on him after he posted a birthday message for former deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe which ended with the note that Motlanthe was not a thief.

''I am shrugging it off. It strengthens me,'' said Vavi.

''It's part of the game,'' said Vavi, who was expelled from the union federation in March for criticising some in Cosatu and not attending some of its meetings.

''I touched the wrong button by praising a man for not being corrupt,'' he said on Tuesday. ''If you dare quote any of the honourable people [like] Mandela, and people immediately develop a guilt conscience and they go for you in the most fatal way.

''I'm not surprised by is the phenomenon of this period,'' he told News24.

The tweet by Vavi that caused all the trouble read: ''Happy birthday to Cde Kgalema Motlanthe - organic intellectual, educator, historian and principled - not a thief'.'

Tweets focus on Vavi sex scandal

There was an immediate backlash with many tweets focusing on Vavi's sex scandal after a junior alleged he had raped her. He said they had consensual sex in the office.

@SabeloComputer tweeted: @Zwelinzima1 a thief is th one u sleep wit a junior work at the office n promise her high position n ask his gang to defend him''.

Some jumped to his defence, and Vavi spent some time answering the criticism on his account @Zwelinzima1 tweeting:
- ''Never knew a day will come when we can't praise those who do us proud. How could praising them hurt others. Why?";
- ''Defenders of corruption trying desperately to equate a sex scandal which I took responsibility and apologised for with stealing of billions'';
- ''I know it was an own goal as I said but no one should try use it to shut me up from raising pillaging''.

Explanation of ‘thief’ tweet

He explained his addition of the word ''thief'' to the birthday message with a series of tweets including:-
- ''Auditor General uncovered R28 billion in “irregular expenditure” over 4 years. Has anyone been prosecuted? No.'';
- ''PWC survey on global economic crime last year, found that 8 out of 10 senior managers in SA have engaged in corrupt business practices'';
- "Corruption cost to the South African public is between R50 - R80 billion per annum according to estimations of some economists'';
- "Corruption has become a part of doing business. We see it in fixing of bread prices, construction of stadiums, rigging of tenders, etc'';
- "Corruption attacks the very state institutions that have been set up to fight corruption eg the office of the Public Protector'';
- "Corruption has also infected and paralysed the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), SAPS, Hawks and intelligence'';
- "A thief is a thief and there are many of them everywhere - they are robbing us our collective future. Don't moan let's mobilize against them'';
- ''My hands are clean! - if you have evidence that I ever engaged in corrupt activity report me to your nearest police station''.

Cosatu fallout

Vavi was once the darling of the current administration, adding his voice to the side of President Jacob Zuma, when he and former president Thabo Mbeki competed for the country's hot seat at the African National Congress's conference in Polokwane in December 2008.

He also supported the ANC's dissolution of the Scorpions, an investigating unit accused of conspiring against Zuma, that was replaced by the Hawks. In June it was reported that Vavi apologised to Mbeki for saying there was a conspiracy to oust Zuma from office in 2005.

Vavi said that since his expulsion he has been working on the ''Nine Plus Project''.

Nine unions -  the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the SA Catering Commercial and Allied Workers Union (Saccawu), the Public and Allied Workers Union of SA (Pawusa), the South African State and Allied Workers Union (Sasawu), Communication Workers Unioin (CWU), the SA Football Players Union (Safpu), the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa), the Democratic Nursing Union (Denosa) and the SA Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) have joined forces to get Numsa and Vavi reinstated.

Numsa was expelled from Cosatu last November for refusing to publicly support the African National Congress in the last election, among other reasons.

The union tried without success to get a court to order that it be allowed to attend the recent Cosatu Special National Congress.

It was told that it would have to wait until November for an ordinary congress to appeal the expulsions. Besides the unions mobilising to support Vavi and Numsa, there have also been hints that they could form their own union federation.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  twitter  |  zwelinzima vavi  |  social media  |  politics  |  corruption

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