Johannesburg - Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi maintained that his family never benefited from Cosatu or deals from its service providers, but a Cosatu-ordered forensic audit suggests he failed to declare conflicts of interest involving his family.
The SizweNtsalubaGobodo (SNG) report has found that Vavi’s wife Noluthando was a director of Simethebile Holdings, along with Craig Greene. Greene is the sole member of VMS Technologies South Africa CC, a Cosatu service provider. Vavi’s stepdaughter worked for VMS for four months.
VMS Technologies was chosen from a shortlist to supply Cosatu’s new head office with telecoms systems.
In line with Cosatu’s policies, it would have been expected of Vavi to declare the possible conflicts of interests relating to both his wife’s relationship with Greene and his daughter’s brief employment at VMS.
The report says he failed to do this.
Cosatu decided to appoint VMS after the company was recommended to Vavi. It was later appointed because its service offering was able to cater for both copiers and phones.
The company now provides telecoms systems to all Cosatu offices across the federation’s nine offices.
SNG was appointed to conduct a forensic audit into the alleged involvement of Vavi’s stepdaughter in VMS, as well as the sale and purchase of Cosatu’s buildings. She apparently joined VMS on contract after meeting Greene at a seminar to inspire young entrepreneurs.
She offered to develop a computer program for VMS that, according to the SNG report, “would make their lives easier in terms of how they ran their businesses”.
VMS paid her around R10 000 for the first phase of the project. She stopped working for VMS after media reports exposed the conflict of interest in her working for VMS.
“She had not spoken to Mr Vavi about VMS and did not inform him when VMS offered her employment. She had only informed her mother, and she was not aware whether her mother had informed Mr Vavi,” the report states.
Vavi told the auditors he became aware of his step-daughter’s employment at VMS only once it hit the headlines.
But he will have a harder time explaining the potential conflict of interest involving his wife.
“We have not been provided with any evidence that Mr Vavi declared the said potential conflict of interest. It would therefore appear that Mr Vavi failed to disclose in writing that his wife is a business partner of Mr Greene who is a service provider of Cosatu.
“Mr Vavi’s failure to disclose this placed him in a position where his personal interest could conflict with his duties to the federation,” the report reads.