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Case of extortion opened in Vavi scandal

The charge was laid at the Sandton police station on Thursday, Vavi’s Advocate Dup de Bruyn confirmed.

Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A case of extortion has been opened against a woman who allegedly tried to blackmail Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

The charge was laid at the Sandton police station in northern Johannesburg on Thursday, Advocate Dup de Bruyn confirmed.

According to Vavi, the woman demanded R2 million from him in exchange for her silence about an alleged rape.

The trade union federation leader has denied raping his colleague, but admits to having an affair with her.

The 26-year-old woman claims Vavi had every intention of raping her and was fully aware of what he was doing.

She claims the crime took place at the Cosatu offices in January.

One SMS, allegedly from the woman, read: "Now I am starting to feel that you hired me merely based on my looks. I am sorry if I gave you ideas."

In his reply, Vavi denies this.

The text messages were included in a statement released by Vavi on Saturday morning.

The Cosatu leader apologised to the public and to his wife for having an extramarital affair.

She denies having a relationship with Vavi, while he denies raping her.

He tweeted on Saturday, "I am only human and fallible. I am no saint."

The woman has not opened a case of rape against Vavi.

Over the past few months, Vavi has claimed on a number of occasions he is a victim of a political campaign to discredit him.

He believes it is being driven by President Jacob Zuma's supporters following the ANC's elective conference in Mangaung late in 2012.

In the past, Vavi claimed he would step down if he is found guilty of wrongdoing by a legitimate structure.

The latest scandal might be enough to force him to step down.

But if he does resign, Cosatu will be seen to have lost one of its biggest political figures.

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