Cosatu, Vavi split on audit report status

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IOL vavi again Independent Newspapers Cosatu's suspended secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi. File photo: Etienne Creux

Johannesburg - Disagreements between Cosatu’s national office bearers and suspended general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi over the status of the SizweNtsalubaGobodo forensic audit report into allegations of financial impropriety continued on Thursday.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told a media briefing that the forensic report was a “final” report and that Vavi had declined an opportunity to respond to the allegations against him.

Details on the contents of the report were divulged to the media by the Cosatu national office bearers earlier this month.

But in letters shared with the media earlier this week, Vavi said he was “aggrieved” by what he regarded as a breach of the undertakings given to him by SizweNtsalubaGobodo, including that the report submitted to Cosatu was a draft report.

Vavi also claims he has still not seen the report – circumstances Dlamini on Thursday implied were the suspended general secretary’s own fault because he had not accepted an offer to hear the report before Cosatu went public with its alleged findings.

The federation president said, however, that Cosatu’s preference was to make the Gobodo report public at the same time as the report it commissioned into the organisational challenges it faced, being undertaken by Charles Nupen and Petrus Mashishi.

On Thursday, head of advisory services at SizweNtsalubaGobodo, Mveli Booi, referred all comments on the report to Cosatu.

But in written correspondence dated February 20, Booi confirms to Vavi’s lawyers that the audit firm presented Cosatu with a “draft report” after which a meeting was requested with Vavi as part of the “ongoing investigation”.

Speaking to Independent Newspapers on Thursday, Vavi’s spokesman John Dludlu said the suspended secretary remained guided by what SizweNtsalubaGobodo said to his lawyers in writing.

They were told that the report was a ‘draft’ and the probe was continuing.

“We are disturbed, but not surprised, that the NOBs’ (national office bearers) interpretation of the status of the report is at variance with its authors.

“Through his lawyers, Mr Vavi has demanded that this discrepancy be resolved at once, and we are still waiting for the response,” Dludlu said.

“We would also not be surprised if the scope of the probe was widened, or another costly one was started over and above the ones he’s been subjected to already.

“The last few months of his illegal suspension have taught him to expect anything, including extra-legal processes to nail him”.

Reflecting on the three-day central executive committee (CEC) meeting, Dlamini said that no motion of no confidence had been tabled into the national office bearers, as was suggested at a media briefing by leaders of the Food and Allied Workers Union in Cape Town last weekend.

Dlamini will make a decision, as president, at the next CEC scheduled for May on whether the federation will accede to the request for a special national congress.

The May CEC is also expected to resolve the matter of the uncertain future of the National Union of Metalworkers.

The union has been given a week from Thursday to respond in writing to why it should not be expelled from Cosatu.

The CEC has already declined to allow a special national congress, but deputy general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said on Thursday the final decision lay with Dlamini and not with the CEC.

Dlamini also called the actions of ten Gauteng Cosatu affiliates who called this week for the resignation of the national office bearers, “un-Cosatu, ill-disciplined and a failure to respect internal structures”.

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