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Johannesburg - The media and the public have trampled on the rights of Zwelinzima Vavi’s rape accuser by portraying her as “a protagonist” in the perceived political turf war between Cosatu bosses.
This is according to senior Cosatu leaders.
Speaking at a media briefing after a central executive committee (CEC) meeting in Joburg on Thursday, they berated the media and the public for their alleged bias against Vavi’s rape accuser and for violating her rights.
“Your (the media’s) focus and that of the public has been skewed, focused on the general secretary (Vavi) to a point of trampling on the rights of the other employee,” said Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini.
He was flanked by his deputy Zingiswa Losi.
A special CEC meeting had on Wednesday night slapped Vavi with a suspension for his much-publicised, scandalous sexual encounter with a junior employee at the federation’s Joburg office.
Both Vavi and his accuser have been placed on special leave. They will now have to undergo a disciplinary process, to be presided over by an independent panel.
Losi was even more scathing: “Some portray the alleged victim as part of the political conspiracy, as if she is being used. You take away her dignity and strip her naked and taint… her image.”
Vavi will know his fate by September 16, when Cosatu is expected to hold its next CEC.
Meanwhile, Cosatu leaders have tried to absolve themselves from any blame in the sex scandal.
“We are too much involved (in the facts around the scandal), that’s why we referred it to the independent person/s… so that it (the outcome of the hearing) can be a neutral stance,” Losi said.
Cosatu leaders also tried to downplay the divisions within the federation.
“Those who try to wedge divisions between leaders are helping the enemies. There is basically no animosity between two leaders (Dlamini and Vavi) here. There is no political conspiracy,” Dlamini said.
He denied assertions that the deepening divisions would lead to Cosatu imploding.
Dlamini added that the federation’s programmes would continue as usual, because “Vavi is not Cosatu”.