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Vavi weighs legal bid against Cosatu

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The Star

Zwelinzima Vavi (in white) and Irvin Jim. File picture: Doctor Ngcobo

Johannesburg - Embattled Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi is considering legal action against the federation after a forensic report it commissioned found him guilty of financial irregularities.

These irregularities were in connection with the sale of the old Cosatu House and the purchase of the new building.

Vavi said he would not comment on the merits or demerits of the “report”, saying he had not seen it.

He said, however, that he was considering legal action as he found it “curious that the investigation elected to ambush” him by not sharing their findings with him.

“On the face of it, these actions appear to demonstrate bias, unprofessional conduct and a misunderstanding of and lack of appreciation for the seriousness of the matter at hand and the implications thereof,” said Vavi’s spokesman John Dludlu. “We hope the forensic firm wasn’t strong-armed into this course of action by his detractors.”

He added: “That said, for a year now, Mr Vavi and his family have been accused of millions (of rand) worth of corruption by his detractors. After all these costly probes, none of these millions have been found in any of his accounts.

“Any lawful process will vindicate Mr Vavi.”

The probe, by auditing firm SizweNtsalubaGobodo, also found that:

* There was an inflation of the price of the new building housing Cosatu’s headquarters in Braamfontein.

* Conflict of interest with regard to the employment of Vavi’s stepdaughter by its IT service provider, VMS.

* Conflict of interest with regard to Cosatu’s investment company Kopano Ke Matla’s chief executive.

* Irregularities with regard to the board of directors of Cubah Properties.

Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini refused to elaborate further on the details of the forensic report.

“No matter how much we are insulted or provoked, we will maintain the integrity of the investigation,” he said, in a veiled reference to Numsa. “At the right time, we will release the report.”

He said Cosatu would, through its national office-bearers, be seeking legal advice on the suitable action to be taken against Vavi.

Meanwhile, defiant metalworkers’ union Numsa has dared Cosatu to forge ahead with its plans to suspend or expel it from the federation – vowing to fight any attempt to sanction it tooth and nail.

This follows Cosatu’s announcement on Tuesday that it wanted Numsa to explain why it should not be suspended or expelled from the federation.

The resolution, taken by Cosatu’s central executive committee (CEC) on Tuesday, may be a clear indication that the federation is now ready to get rid of its biggest affiliate.

To further dash any hopes of a compromise, Cosatu said it had rejected calls by Numsa and eight of its other affiliates to convene a special national congress (SNC).

“The CEC raised problems which an SNC would cause affiliates, including financial constraints, a full programme of other events, election work and the fact that this is the year of the central committee. In this context, the meeting decided to decline the request for a SNC,” Dlamini said.

He added that Cosatu would ask the unions to clarify their views on Numsa’s SNC in December and resolutions would be taken there.

Numsa general secretary Irvin Jim was livid about this, saying: “The call for an SNC is not convened like an induna convening an imbizo. It’s convened constitutionally. Cosatu doesn’t belong to individuals; it belongs to the workers.”

Numsa president Andrew Chirwa was even more scathing.

“This is a clear demonstration of people with no regard for Cosatu’s constitution and who are pursuing their narrow ambition in Parliament at the expense of genuine workers,” he said.

“There is no need to write a letter. We won’t bow to anybody. We owe no one an explanation. The decision we took (not to back the ANC in the elections) was a mandate by workers.”

The Star


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