Cosatu has condemned the leaking of internal documents to the Mail&Guardian (M&G) newspaper, describing a story based on this as misleading.
“(The story) is ... deliberately misleading as it misquotes the report itself,” the federation said in a statement on Friday.
The M&G published a story earlier in the day, citing a Cosatu political report prepared for the trade union federation's conference next month.
The newspaper said Vavi accused Cosatu officials of being preoccupied with campaigning for ANC factions ahead of the party's elective conference in Mangaung conference in December.
Cosatu said: “The story is ... malicious in that it individualises historic Cosatu decisions as the personal views of the general secretary.”
The views (about Mangaung) were part of an extract taken from worker focus groups in June this year, Cosatu said.
The quote from the outcomes, used by the newspaper, said:
“Cosatu has influence, but on issues that have nothing to do with workers, like Polokwane and Mangaung - that's where you'll start to hear Cosatu.
“But when it comes to worker issues on the ground and to influence government to change policies that affects workers, you find it asking.”
Cosatu said the newspaper attributed this quote to Vavi even though the report stated that this was a sentiment expressed by workers in a survey by the federation.
“This is a classic example of how the media shows no reservation in picking and selectively quoting from these leaked documents in order to generate sensationalism and bolster newspaper sales.”
The leaking of the documents was divisive behaviour which undermined internal cohesion, Cosatu said.
Nic Dawes, editor of the M&G, defended the use of leaked documents.
“Leaks are a standard feature of political reporting, especially in an environment where people are often not willing to speak on record,” he said.
“They help us give our readers a sense of what is happening in the organisation that is enormously important.”.
On selecting part of the reports, Dawes said he was willing to publish the entire report online but could not do it in the newspaper. - Sapa