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Johannesburg - Zwelinzima Vavi will face the music for the sale of Cosatu’s old building and the purchase of the new one – but he won’t go down alone.
According to the SizweNtsalubaGobodo report, which forms the basis for many of the nine charges the embattled general secretary is facing – and which The Star has seen – the man who bears the full brunt of the auditors’ wrath is Collin Matjila, Eskom’s current acting chief executive.
Matjila was the chief executive of Kopano Ke Matla, the federation’s investment arm, at the time of the sale.
The auditors are scathing about Matjila and he is accused throughout the document of maladministration and not bothering with basic due diligence.
The giant labour federation might have lost almost R16 million in the process of selling the one building and buying the other.
The auditors were called in after Vavi’s opponents accused him of benefiting unduly from the sale and purchase of the buildings. They also questioned the haste around the sale of Cosatu’s old headquarters.
The 58-page report does not find any direct financial benefit to Vavi, but he is not off the hook because – according to Cosatu’s constitution – he is responsible for the financial affairs of the federation and was supposed to supervise Matjila closely on the projects.
“The CEO (Matjila) reports to Cosatu through the secretariat, in particular to the general secretary. He (Matjila) will argue (that in) everything he did, he did inform the general secretary,” said a senior Cosatu leader, who wanted to remain anonymous.
“He was simply an operation person and it was a relationship that continuously undermined good governance.”
The Star asked Vavi what his role was in overseeing Kopano; why there was such haste in selling the old Cosatu building; why he told the auditors that he signed the controversial deal “under duress”; and whether he accepted there had been a lapse in his fiduciary responsibility to the federation.
However, Vavi has decided not to respond to direct questions on the report.
“We’ve elected not to subject Mr Vavi to a media trial, which is the intention of those behind the leak. We regard the leak, and especially its timing, as another attempt to smear and destroy him from inside the federation,” said Vavi’s spokesman John Dludlu.
“That said, we wish to reiterate points we’ve made before: Mr Vavi, through his lawyers, was assured by SizweNtsalubaGobodo that they had only given Cosatu a draft report which was still subject to further investigation.
“They denied that they had made adverse findings without giving him the right to be heard or any of the persons that were adversely mentioned. This was the basis of his co-operation with the investigation.
“Mr Vavi intends to challenge SizweNtsalubaGobodo for what we believe is unethical conduct on their part and failure to afford him a right to be heard before making grossly unfair conclusions against him.
“In the meantime, he won’t be answering questions based on flawed findings,” Dludlu said.
The copy of the report seen by The Star is the first part of a wider probe.
Cosatu postponed Vavi’s disciplinary hearing this week to allow federation leaders to consider the second part of the investigation.
Cosatu’s central executive committee meeting continues in Joburg.