Cosatu general secretary and Corruption Watch board member Zwelinzima Vavi has strongly denied reports that he was involved in corrupt dealings relating to the procurement of the federation’s new building.
"I will never ever use the powers I have as general secretary of the federation to steal from the very downtrodden members of the federation, who are … struggling daily against corruption," he said.
Speaking at a routine press briefing at Cosatu House in Braamfontein, Vavi vowed to step down if sources could prove he was involved in irregularities in procuring the federation’s new offices and the sale of its old.
"I will just leave because that will be the worst form of betrayal … I will just walk because it means I have no bloody credibility left whatsoever," Vavi said.
The Mail & Guardian reported on Wednesday that Vavi would be investigated for a number of allegations, including financial impropriety relating to Cosatu's new building in Braamfontein. These were rumours spread by spurious sources, according to Vavi.
Both Vavi and Cosatu President Sidumo Dlaminini affirmed at the briefing that there was no such investigation planned.
Sources also said Vavi allegedly collaborated with opposition parties, including the newly formed political platform Agang, which is headed by activist and academic Mamphela Ramphele, and Cosatu’s rival unions, to destabilise the government and the ANC.
According to the Mail & Guardian, Cosatu leaders at the central executive committee meeting demanded tough action against Vavi.
Cosatu affiliates initially demanded that he be put on special leave, pending the investigation, but the committee decided not to suspend him immediately, the Mail & Guardian said, quoting anonymous sources.