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Johannesburg - Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi denied on Thursday reports that he was involved in financial wrongdoing, according to Eyewitness News
“I will never ever use the powers I have as general secretary of the federation to steal from the very downtrodden members of the federation, who are... struggling daily against corruption,” he said.
On Wednesday, Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesman Patrick Craven refused to comment on the report.
“I can't comment, I'm afraid. It's all based on anonymous sources. We have a standing policy that we don't comment on such stories,” he said.
Craven said the matter would be mentioned at a press briefing on Thursday, following Cosatu's central executive committee meeting.
The Mail & Guardian online reported on Wednesday that Vavi would be investigated for a number of allegations, including financial impropriety relating to Cosatu's new building in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
In addition, Vavi allegedly collaborated with opposition parties, including the newly formed political platform Agang, which is headed by activist and academic Mamphela Ramphele, and Cosatu’s rival unions, to destabilise the government and the ANC.
According to the Mail & Guardian, Cosatu leaders at the central executive committee meeting demanded tough action against Vavi.
Cosatu affiliates initially demanded that he be put on special leave, pending the investigation, but the committee decided not to suspend him immediately, the Mail & Guardian said, quoting anonymous sources.
“This was the toughest meeting I have ever attended. There was very strong exchange of words. Vavi was in tears. He was attacked left, right and centre. He lost words in his mouth,” one source was quoted saying.
“He could not even go for lunch. He started negotiating with unions when he started realising he was on his way out.”
The majority of unions were very “vigilant” against Vavi, the source added.
“The only big unions that supported him were Numsa (the National Union of Metalworkers of SA) and Fawu (the Food and Allied Workers' Union).” - Sapa