The Congress of South African Trade Unions held a press conference after its Central Executive Committee meeting on Wednesday. The President of COSATU, Sidumo Dlamini, said that no questions can arise about any of its leaders. At the CEC meeting, the issue of COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi and allegations of corruption was discussed.
Vavi has been accused of corruption concerning the acquisition of the building that is now the new headquarters of COSATU. Speaking to the media, Vavi said that it would be unfair for the organisation to request his resignation before the investigation into these serious allegations is concluded. He added: “No organisation works like that.”
Zwelinzima Vavi again denied these allegations. He said: “All I know is that I have done absolutely nothing wrong as an individual.” Vavi also challenged anyone with evidence of any wrongdoing on his part to produce this evidence so that he may step down.
COSATU has called on Petrus Mashishi and labour lawyer Charles Nupen to assist by facilitating future discussions about the allegations that have been brought against Vavi. Mashishi is the former president of the South African Municipal Workers’ Union. Zwelinzima Vavi confirmed: “The facilitators will provide an opportunity to all accused of wrongdoing to respond to any allegations contained in the submissions.”
The sale of the building will be forensically scrutinised by an independent auditing firm, Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo. At the CEC meeting, COSATU decided that it would submit the file containing the available information about the building sale to the auditing firm. Sizwe Ntsaluba Gobodo is expected to finalise its investigation in time for the next CEC meeting that is scheduled for July. The audit report will be at the top of the agenda in that meeting.
Vavi assured workers that COSATU was still united and determined to remain unshaken in its fight for workers in the country. “We have to show them that we are not splitting or paralysed, as the media and their ‘sources’ want us to believe.”