Johannesburg - Cosatu has finally taken the battle over Zwelinzima Vavi’s political survival to his doorstep, hammering him with a charge sheet that sheds light on how he may have spent the trade union federation’s money.
A litany of credit card splurges at a jazz festival, the irregular hiring of a junior employee he was sleeping with and their sexual encounter at Cosatu headquarters are among the charges Cosatu will use to try to sink the federation’s suspended general secretary.
Vavi, who was suspended last year after it emerged he had sex with a junior employee in her office at Cosatu House in Joburg, will also have to explain his public utterances about Cosatu leaders, including on Twitter.
On Saturday, he used the same medium to accuse Cosatu leaders of leaking the charge sheet in order to spark a media trial against him, but the federation is going full steam ahead with its plan to have him dismissed from his position.
It has informed Vavi that it plans to present evidence and supporting documentation to prove he is guilty and thereafter move to have him dismissed.
The charge sheet confirms that the federation wants Vavi dismissed should he be found guilty of any of the charges against him, also lashing him about what he has been saying about it in the media and on Twitter since he was suspended.
“Subject of course to the findings of the chairperson, it is the intention of Cosatu to move for your summary dismissal in the event of a finding of guilt in respect of one or more of them (charges),” Vavi is informed in the charge sheet.
The charges against Vavi are:
* Recruitment and employment of the employee without following procedure;
* Relationship with the said employee;
* The conversion of the employee to a permanent employee without following procedure;
* Supervision of the employee;
* Distribution of internal grievance and response;
* Personal expenses and personal travel;
* Claiming in a Carte Blanche television interview that he had interviewed the employee with the administrative secretary of Cosatu;
* Breach of suspension condition;
* Utterances derogatory of Cosatu and its leadership.
It is alleged that Vavi failed to supervise the woman’s work and ignored complaints about her performance, which resulted in more than R1.1 million worth of the organisation’s travel expenses over a period of two years being unaccounted for.
Vavi is also accused of using his Cosatu credit card for his personal use and that of his family, which includes booking flights and accommodation for him and his wife to attend the Cape Town International Jazz Festival in 2012. The expenses for travel and accommodation at the festival amounted to more than R20 000 over four days.
He also allegedly paid for his wife’s other travel expenses with the Cosatu credit card.
Other instances where the credit card was used for his personal expenses are listed in the charge sheet, with Cosatu claiming these were incurred while Cosatu was implementing austerity measures.
“The said expenses were incurred at a time to your knowledge (sic) the NOBs (national office bearers) had decided, in the context of Cosatu’s serious cash flow problems, that no personal expenses would be incurred by Cosatu on behalf of its NOBs,” reads the charge sheet.
Vavi has received backing from Numsa since he fell out with fellow Cosatu leaders, and used the occasion of the union’s political school in Benoni to lash them.
There, according to the charge sheet, Vavi called for a special national congress of Cosatu for fresh leadership elections, and attacked Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini and Nehawu general secretary Fikile Majola for accepting election to the ANC national executive committee.
“You chose to ignore the fact that, of which you were fully aware, Cosatu has previously taken a resolution that its leaders may serve on the ANC NEC. Although you were not in agreement with that decision, you were obliged to respect it and comply with it,” reads the charge sheet.
Vavi’s Twitter comments are cited, with tweets critical of Cosatu leadership described as derogatory of Cosatu and its leadership. The main charge on his Twitter conduct appears to be the distribution of the grievance lodged against him by the employee when she accused him of rape, and his continued defence of his version.
Vavi on Saturday lashed out at the leak of the charge sheet to the media as a violation of his rights.
His spokesman John Dludlu claimed the leaks would prejudice Vavi.
“Like the continuous selective leaks of details of the forensic probes against him during the five months of his illegal suspension, we believe the purpose of this week’s latest leaks is to subject Mr Vavi to a media trial,” Dludlu said.
A meeting between Cosatu and Numsa, requested by Cosatu, is likely this week.
Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini said they had given Numsa the dates of last Friday and next Friday for the meeting.
“We gave them two dates so since it did not happen on the 17th, it will most likely happen next week,” Dlamini said.
The meeting is expected to be heated, with Vavi’s suspension and Numsa’s withdrawal of support for the ANC’s election campaign expected to top the agenda.
Numsa deputy general secretary Karl Cloete said they would only this week pronounce their views on these matters before the meeting with Cosatu.
Cosatu is yet to determine a date for Vavi’s disciplinary hearing.