20 January 2014

South Africa: Checkmate - the Case Against Zwelinzima Vavi


Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has tried to stare down the leadership of the federation in an all-or-nothing battle for survival. After being accused of sexual misconduct, he and his allies tried to fight his suspension within the federation and in court, attempted to force an urgent special congress and rallied support.

But by trying to outmanoeuvre his opponents and delaying a decision on his future, he played into the hands of the people who want him out of Cosatu. Now he's facing a disciplinary inquiry with nine charges against him and he is damned if he goes through it and damned if he doesn't.

In November, Daily Maverick reported that Cosatu had appointed a second forensic team to investigate irregular use of the federation's finances by Zwelinzima Vavi. Vavi had been suspended by the Cosatu central executive committee (CEC) since August after staff member Jacqueline Phooko accused him of rape; the charge was subsequently withdrawn.

When the accusation emerged, Vavi immediately countered it publicly, admitting that he and Phooko had been involved in a romantic relationship. To refute the rape allegation, he released a series of text messages showing that after their sexual encounter at...

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