The Congress of SA Trade Unions has rejected reported comments made by Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana about general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.
“If the deputy minister really believes what he is saying, it reflects a disturbing state of paranoia,” spokesman Patrick Craven said in a statement.
“The battle against corruption is being waged not just by Zwelinzima Vavi, or by Cosatu but by the ANC, government, business and civil society. It is a top priority for the whole nation.”
Manana, according to the New Age newspaper on Thursday, labelled Vavi a “problem child”.
Manana accused Vavi of wanting to use the platform of the National Anti-Corruption Forum to start a new party, the newspaper reported.
“The alliance partners may remain critical of each other, but they must not be counter-revolutionary,” Manana said.
“Vavi's behaviour and actions led to the conclusion that he has intentions to establish his own party using an anti-corruption platform as a bandwagon.”
Vavi was this week appointed chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Forum.
Manana appealed to the African National Congress to “express itself” against Vavi's “counter-revolutionary behaviour” at its upcoming elective conference in Mangaung.
Craven said the National Anti-Corruption Forum comprised civil society, business, and government.
Each sector was represented by 10 members, nominated by their respective constituencies.
“So how can it possibly be a 'bandwagon' for any individual?” asked Craven.
Similarly Corruption Watch, although initiated by Cosatu, was an independent body which would investigate all allegations, regardless of who was being accused.
Craven said it would not hesitate to accuse union leaders if there was evidence against them.
He said the unanimous decision by the central executive committee to support the re-election of the incumbent president, deputy president and secretary-general of the ANC was consistent with Vavi's comments.
“The comments about the general secretary planning to 'exit' from Cosatu and form 'his own political party' is a pure fantasy, which exists only in the deputy minister's head,” said Craven.
Vavi was elected unopposed as general secretary in September this year and enjoyed the full support of Cosatu's two million-plus members, he said.
Manana's comments - if correctly reported - could only be seen as a crude attempt to de-legitimise Vavi and create divisions within the federation and its alliance partners.
“If so, it will fail ignominiously. Cosatu has never been more united, from the shop floor up to its national leadership, and this unity will never to broken,” Craven said. - Sapa