Cosatu slams claim that Vavi ‘blasted Zuma’

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) denied on Wednesday a report in the Sowetan that its secretary general, Zwelinzima Vavi, had “blasted Zuma” at a conference this week.

“Zwelinzima Vavi never made any reference to the president of the ANC and the republic, comrade Jacob Zuma. He pointed out the strides made by the African National Congress government as well as some of the challenges that remain such as corruption, income inequalities, poverty and unemployment,” Cosatu said in a statement.

It was referring to a headline on the Sowetan newspaper’s front page on Wednesday which stated, “Zuma blasted by Vavi”.

But Cosatu said: “We consider the headline inaccurate and mischievous. Even the Sowetan‘s own report of the speech, by Kingdom Mabuza, on Page 4, to which the headline refers, makes no mention of any reference to the president by [Vavi].”

Vavi made front page news in other publications on Wednesday for warning that the opposition Democratic Alliance’s leader Helen Zille posed a threat to the ruling ANC in some areas.

“If we are not careful, and if we allow people to take our movement in the direction they are taking, very soon we may have to call someone ‘President Zille’ — which will be an absolute nightmare,” Vavi said, diverting from his speech prepared for delivery.

He said the ruling ANC was “infested with corruption and greed”.

Cosatu insisted that the Sowetan publish a retraction and apology.

Last week, the Star and Daily Sun newspapers had to publish front page apologies after incorrectly quoting ANC Youth League leader Julius Malema as publicly criticising President Jacob Zuma.

The youth league had then called on the press ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, to conduct a further investigation into the matter, a request that was denied by the ombud. The youth league’s spokesperson Floyd Shivambu responded by calling the ombud “toothless” and “pathetically useless”.

On Tuesday, the Press Council said the youth league’s attack on the ombud was aimed at boosting a faction of the ANC’s bid for a media appeals tribunal.

“This gratuitous attack on the ombudsman is clearly aimed at promoting the aims of a faction in the ANC which proposes that Parliament should investigate the establishment of a Media Appeals Tribunal,” said council chairperson Raymond Louw in a statement.

Louw said youth league spokesperson Floyd Shivambu had confirmed this by saying: “Our call for an urgent establishment of the media appeals tribunal has now gained more weight and should be placed on the agenda of Parliament.”

Louw said the Press Council was “disgusted” by the “unjust attack” on the ombudsman and expressed its support for him, saying it was untrue that the ombudsman was appointed by media houses and was therefore representing their interests.

“[The ombud] is appointed by an appointments panel headed by a judge appointed by the chief justice and composed of a public and a press representative. A survey of the ombud’s rulings shows that more than 60% favour complainants — hardly the conduct of a media house representative.” — Sapa

PW Botha wagged his finger and banned us in 1988 but we stood firm. We built a reputation for fearless journalism, then, and now. Through these last 35 years, the Mail & Guardian has always been on the right side of history.

These days, we are on the trail of the merry band of corporates and politicians robbing South Africa of its own potential.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

‘My biggest fear was getting the virus and dying in...

South African Wuhan evacuee speaks about his nine-week ordeal

Border walls don’t stop viruses, but a blanket amnesty might

Why South Africa should consider amnesty for undocumented migrants in the time of the coronavirus outbreak.

Mail & Guardian needs your help

Our job is to help give you the information we all need to participate in building this country, while holding those in power to account. But now the power to help us keep doing that is in your hands

Press Releases

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world

SAB Zenzele special AGM rescheduled to March 25 2020

New voting arrangements are being made to safeguard the health of shareholders

Dimension Data launches Saturday School in PE

The Gauteng Saturday School has produced a number of success stories