The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) Jack Charles Bezuindenhout Region (formerly Wits Central), said early today it accepts Zwelinzima Vavi’s apology.
In a statement released today the Numsa region joined a list of people rallying around the beleaguered general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu). Vavi has been trusted into a major crisis after news broke that he stands accused of sexually assaulting a Cosatu employee early this year. Vavi has denied the accusation and claims to have had consensual sex with the Cosatu employee and has apologised for an adulterous. Cosatu has set up a process to get to the truth.
Numsa KwaZulu-Natal issued a statement yesterday saying it is not surprised by new allegations against Vavi. “Clearly, this latest rape allegation cannot be de-linked from the poisonous, malicious and well-calculated political offensive directed towards destroying comrade Vavi`s political integrity and standing in society. We are aware that certain powerful leaders within and outside COSATU, coerced the alleged woman colleague to falsify the rape claim in order to destroy comrade Vavi`s political career. We view this as a very dangerous ploy or strategy, and thus undermine our fight against rape and sexual violence directed towards the vulnerable in our society”.
“As Numsa we strongly believe that the presumption of innocence until proven otherwise, as enjoined by our constitution should be upheld by all, as opposed to the gutter of public opinion. We will defend comrade Vavi, in the same manner and vigor we defend other leader`s of our movement in the past accused of rape. We refuse to suffer from any selective amnesia, but we want to be principled and consistent, since the parallels are obvious and similar”.
We also appeal to the media to treat this matter with all the sensitivity it deserves, until all facts surrounding the matter have been established beyond reasonable doubt. We are fully behind our COSATU General Secretary, said the Numsa KZN statement.
The Jack Charles Bezuindenhout Region statement said it accepts Vavi`s public apology and admission that he has erred.
“Comrade Vavi`s apology is a sign of his braveness and courageous leadership style. He has done what many leaders have dismally failed to do when erred or committed serious mistakes of this nature”.
“We encourage the alleged victim to exercise her right by opening a case of sexual assault at her nearest police station, so that her alleged rape claims can be tested through a credible and fair criminal justice institution. We hold the view that rape is a serious criminal offense and it cannot be treated as a mere labour relations issue, and thus a criminal case process is an ideal and best place to deal with the matter”.
“However, we remain suspicious that the alleged rape claim is part of a dirty tactic intended to destroy comrade Vavi by his political opponents within COSATU. The timing of this claim is worrying and it reinforces our long held view that a sinister campaign is being used to push-out comrade Vavi from his elected position for narrow political and selfish ends,” said the statement.
“We fully support comrade Vavi during this difficult and testing period since he has not been found guilty by any court. We are not his blind followers, but we are defending a leader who is being politically targeted for his principled posture on the many challenges faced by the working class and the poor. The daggers are all out for him, because he has genuinely refused to be co-opted by the political establishment or muzzled for speaking truth to power”.
We call upon all our members and the working class in general to remain vigilant against these dirty tactics of destroying comrade Vavi. Furthermore, we call our members to be ready to defend their own federation which Vavi represent as its face national and internationally”.