VAVI GETS PANTS SUED OFF
Phooko tackles Vavi, Numsa and Cosatu
COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been slapped with a defamation claim by the junior staffer he allegedly had sex with at the trade union federation’s offices last year.
Sunday World can exclusively reveal that Jacqueline Phooko also served legal papers on the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and instituted a damages claim against Cosatu.
It is understood that the legal no-
It is believed that Phooko will claim damages from Cosatu for failing to properly handle her grievance
tices were served on the parties about three weeks ago.
Phooko is also fighting her dismissal with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), after a Cosatu disciplinary committee found her guilty of misconduct. She was fired in April.
Cosatu insiders told Sunday World that the claims against Vavi and Numsa are related to “derogatory statements ” and “false claims” made by the general secretary in the aftermath of his admission that he had a “brief sexual encounter” with Phooko in her office at the Cosatu House in Braamfontein, Joburg.
At the time, Phooko claimed that Vavi had raped her, a charge she later withdrew.
Vavi alleged that Phooko made the claim to extort R2-million from him.
After Vavi’s suspension for having sex at work, Numsa came to his defence and claimed that he was the victim of a political campaign to get him out of Cosatu.
Numsa backed Vavi in court proceedings, which resulted in his suspension being lifted “on technical grounds”.
It is believed that Phooko will claim damages from Cosatu for failing to properly handle her grievance for the sexual assault charge she laid against Vavi to the union.
Cosatu, Vavi and Numsa have all denied the existence of the legal papers allegedly served on them.
John Dludlu, Vavi’s spokesman, said they had not seen the legal papers.
“We are aware neither of such papers being served on Vavi nor the basis thereof,” he said.
Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini also denied knowledge of the papers.
Castro Ngobese, Numsa ’ s spokesman, said: “That ’ s not true at all. We have not been served with legal papers by Phooko.”
Despite the blanket denials from the parties involved, sources said Cosatu, Vavi and Numsa did not want the matter out in public.
Phooko is challenging the alleged unfair dismissal on the basis that the “sexual encounter” with Vavi for which she was suspended did not form part of the charges, most of which she was found guilty of.
In prosecuting her, Cosatu re- tained the services of senior counsel and an advocate – a move seen to have been heavy-handed, given that Phooko could not afford her own lawyers.
In an exclusive interview with Sunday World last month, Phooko said: “I feel I got the raw end of the deal because I was a little pawn in their fight.”
It is claimed that Vavi received preferential treatment at Phooko’s expense, given that he had been reinstated for the same charge that led to her being disciplined and, ultimately, given the boot.
Phooko ’ s first appearance at the CCMA was two weeks ago.
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