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Saftu’s Zwelinzima Vavi extends olive branch to opponents

Saftu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi at the union’s conference this week. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Saftu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi at the union’s conference this week. Picture: Itumeleng English/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 26, 2022

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Cape Town - Re-elected Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has extended an olive branch to his opponents, saying he wanted a united union to fight worker issues.

He said the country was beset with many challenges and it was important for Saftu to unite.

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Vavi, who was re-elected in a bruising battle early on Friday, said it was time to put the past behind him and focus on the future.

He admitted that the campaign was brutal and said some were prepared to tarnish his name and integrity by accusing him of corruption.

This related to allegations that he abused the debit card of the union for personal use.

But Vavi said he wanted a speedy conclusion to the investigation by the union on the matter.

He said he had been angered and hurt by some of the allegations that were made about him, but he was prepared to work with all people in the union.

“I must be honest, the scars remain very wide open. I am absolutely angered by misinformation and campaigns to attack my integrity throughout the campaigning period to the extent to which people were prepared to lie in an attempt to discredit me as a corrupt individual,” said Vavi.

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He said he had been hurt by these allegations. There were also allegations that he had squandered millions from the trade union federation.

He described these and other allegations as unfounded and without any basis.

Vavi said he was prepared to reach out to all members of Saftu and to put what happened in the past.

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This was part of the campaign and it was very unfortunate that names were sullied in the campaign.

For the sake of building unity in Saftu they needed to focus on the future and leave the past behind.

“We have declared in this congress that the misinformation era, the divisions, the slates, the cliques that were created, all of those things were unfortunately part and parcel of a democratic process unfolding in the federation that has brought unfortunate cultures right in our fold. But I am prepared to reach out to everybody in the federation,” said Vavi.

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He added that he wanted a speedy resolution to the investigation on the allegations of abusing the debit card of the union.

Vavi also decried the state of the country, saying things were falling apart, ranging from education to health systems.

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Political Bureau

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