Vavi was a panelist during during a breakfast seminar held in Pretoria under the South African Association of Public Administration and Management's Gauteng chapter to discuss whether the post-apartheid government was unravelling.
He said the current government was failing the masses, adding Zuma is misleading South Africans when he tells them that he was radically transforming the economy by axing former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
"The president is posturing, we know he didn't remove Gordhan so that the people can benefit...We are in junk and others say we have been in a junk but wait until you seen the devastating impact of being put in the junk status," he said.
"After the rhetoric ends, you must go and check how many workers will be losing their jobs and how many (people) in the middle strata are going to start to have their houses dispossessed, their cars dispossessed and everything falling apart."
Vavi said the country sovereign rating had been downgraded to junk status because of the president's reckless actions and his failure to bring about real radical economic transformation.
"President Zuma and the people backing him know that they are telling us a lie when they tell us there's a u-turn, there's a new man who has been struck by lightning somewhere on the way to Damascus. It is not on the agenda, President Zuma doesn't represent radical economic transformation," Vavi said.
Controversial leader of Black First Land First (BLF), Andile Mngxitama, another panelist, vehemently opposed Vavi's sentiments and said Zuma had done nothing wrong.
He suggested Gordhan had been removed as finance minister because he was supporting white monopoly capital.
He said South Africa has never been free from apartheid. "We have always been in apartheid and 1994 didn't suggest a break from the colonial structure, racism land dispossession and exclusion of black people."
Mngxitama emphasized that for the first time in many years, Zuma has placed the country in the best position by trying to remove the monsters of racism.
"As we sit 35 000 white families own 80 percent of the land in the country, that's what it is. White people own 97 percent of the JSE, the banks, all of them are owned by white people," he said Mngxitama defended the Gupta family and maintained that they will not support any movement which wants the family out of the country.
"The Gupta's will stay in this country, let us be absolutely be clear about it, they will not be kicked out of this country by agents of imperialism. White people will have no right to say Guptas must go and will not accept the enemies of change to tell us who is acceptable or who is not acceptable."
Mngxitama blasted Wednesday's planned march against Zuma in Pretoria, insisting it was being influenced by white monopoly capital and that all political leaders who would be participating were protecting these interests.