Pressure on Cosatu to deal with Vavi
THE fractured hierarchy of labour federation Cosatu is under pressure to do something about its general secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, who has been publicly censured by Corruption Watch.
Vavi is a member of the Corruption Watch board.
Two weeks ago he admitted to having had sex with a junior staff member at Cosatu. The woman claimed it was rape and filed a complaint with the federation, but later withdrew it.
A Corruption Watch insider who spoke to Sunday World on condition of anonymity said that because of what the organisation stood for, it could not ignore what Vavi had admitted to.
Corruption Watch released a carefully worded statement on Friday: “On the basis of the facts admitted by Mr Vavi and known to the board at this stage, the board decided to issue a public notice of censure of Mr Vavi in respect of the improper relationship between Mr Vavi and the woman.
“In deciding to do so, the board took into account the fact that any sexual relationship between a senior staff member in an organisation and a junior member is almost inevitably infected by the relationship of power that exists between them, and that, accordingly, senior staff members have a special responsibility to seek to avoid such relationships.
“The board was guided by what it considered to be in the best interests of Corruption Watch and the information it had before it and that is currently in the public domain.
“Before issuing this note of censure, Mr Vavi was informed of the board’s decision to do so and he indicated that he has accepted the decision of the board.”
The insider said Corruption Watch was being careful not to be drawn into the political storm between pro- and anti-Vavi Cosatu member unions, which have been engaged in a war of words since the sex scandal broke.
A Cosatu insider told Sunday World that pressure was mounting on the federation to do something about its general secretary, but criticised Corruption Watch: “I can’t say [that this] censure is genuine. If one accepts that the sex was consensual, one should reprimand both; if not, then one ought to side with a victim.”