Corruption Watch censures Vavi

Curruption Watch Statement 

In the light of the media disclosures in recent weeks concerning a woman who is a staff member at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) head office and Zwelinzima Vavi, a board member of Corruption Watch, an urgent meeting of the Corruption Watch board was convened.

On the basis of the facts admitted by Mr Vavi and known to the Board at this stage, the Board decided to issue a public notice of censure of Mr Vavi in respect of the improper relationship between Mr Vavi and the woman.

In deciding to do so, the Board took into account the fact that any sexual relationship between a senior staff member in an organisation and a junior member is almost inevitably infected by the relationship of power that exists between them and that accordingly senior staff members have a special responsibility to seek to avoid such relationships.

Mr Vavi was asked to address two issues: the process whereby the woman was appointed by Cosatu and the nature of his relationship with her. In deliberating, the Board was guided by what it considered to be in the best interests of Corruption Watch and the information it had before it and that is currently in the public domain.

In reaching this conclusion, the Board took into account the deplorable level of gender violence and abuse in South Africa. Before issuing this note of censure, Mr Vavi was informed of the Board’s decision to do so and he indicated that he has accepted the decision of the Board.

Going forward, the Board confirms that its members should at all times both in their public and private lives act consistently with the values of truth, integrity and candour that are espoused by Corruption Watch and consistently with the Corruption Watch pledge:

  • To be responsible and honest citizens and neither pay nor take bribes;
  • Obey the law and encourage others around us to obey the law and to treat public resources respectfully;
  • Neither abuse any public money entrusted to our care, nor any position we hold as public servants;
  • Act with integrity in all our dealings with government; and
  • Always remember that public resources are intended for the benefit of the public, not for private gain.

Given the deliberative nature of this decision and the prevailing circumstances, the Board has decided that individual board members will not make further statements to the media in respect of this matter.

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