/ 21 November 2013

Cosatu: Vavi investigation not ‘an overnight thing’

Zwelinzima Vavi
Zwelinzima Vavi

The investigation into suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi's conduct is nearly complete, the trade union federation said on Thursday.

"The outcome of the investigations or any disciplinary action will be submitted to the CEC [central executive committee], which will have to decide whether or not to [bring] charges," said acting Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

He was briefing media in Johannesburg on the outcome of Cosatu's three-day CEC meeting.

He was referring to Vavi and the junior staff member he had an affair with. The investigation into the woman's conduct had been completed.

Vavi had been put on special leave pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing relating to his affair.

In July, the employee accused him of rape. He said they had an affair. The woman subsequently withdrew a sexual harassment complaint against him.

'It is not the fault of Cosatu'
Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini said a number of issues were being investigated. These included employment, the recruitment policy, the name of the employee being given to the media and power relations in Cosatu's office.

"The investigation uncovered other things, which need further investigation. It cannot be an overnight thing," Dlamini said.

"It is not the fault of Cosatu. It is not the fault of investigators that there is a delay."

He said the investigators needed those involved to co-operate.

Ntshalintshali said the CEC was informed that the high court litigation against the trade union federation by the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and Vavi was unlikely to be heard this year.

The CEC meeting asked Numsa, the Food and Allied Workers' Union and the South African Football Players Union to withdraw their court action.

Challenging Vavi's suspension
Following Vavi's suspension, Numsa, an ally of his, lodged an application in the high court in Johannesburg challenging his suspension. Vavi then lodged papers to be added as an applicant in Numsa's challenge.

In these, he asks the court to grant him an interim order interdicting and restraining Cosatu from enforcing any decision taken at its CEC meeting in August.

He wants final relief to review and set aside the decision to suspend him and institute disciplinary proceedings. – Sapa