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'We won't be brought into the fray on Vavi'

The ANC says it is waiting to hear the facts before commenting on allegations against Vavi.

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the ANC won't be brought into the fray on the allegations against Cosatu General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi until it knows the facts. Picture: Sapa

JOHANNESBURG - ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe says the ruling party is not going to comment on the allegations against Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi without first knowing the facts.

Vavi is scheduled to answer allegations that he raped a female colleague during an internal hearing on Monday.

He has strongly denied the claims, but has admitted to having an extramarital affair with her. He believes the allegations are all part of a political plot to discredit him.

Vavi also claims the 26-year-old woman demanded R2 million from him in exchange for her silence.

A case of extortion was opened against her on Thursday.

Mantashe says the Tripartite Alliance hasn't yet met to discuss the allegations against Vavi.

"I don't think we should be getting into the fray. Because if you get into the fray on the issue you are likely to say things you don't know."

He says only Cosatu can deal with these claims while only Vavi can take a decision to resign.

BALENI DENIES ALLEGATIONS

Meanwhile, The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) General Secretary Frans Baleni, a frontrunner for Vavi's position should he resign, has strongly denied he orchestrated the rape claim against the Cosatu head.

Baleni says the claims are nothing but conspiracy theories aimed at sowing divisions within the trade union federation.

"I have never met this lady so how do I get involved? I never opened somebody's zip. So how can I be accused of involvement?"

The NUM says it will wait for a formal briefing from the federation on the allegations before voicing its opinion.

SUPPORT FOR VAVI

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has thrown its support behind Vavi.

The union says he is not capable of rape and it believes the allegations levelled against him are part of a political conspiracy to oust him.

Numsa, which is the trade union federation's biggest affiliate, says it will continue to defend Vavi and has no doubt he will be vindicated if the matter is taken to court.

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.

NO FORMAL CHARGE

The woman hasn't yet laid a formal rape charge against Vavi.

Her family says they are waiting to first receive the outcome of the trade union federation's internal investigation.

She has vowed to speak to the media once she has learnt the outcome.

Vavi has apologised to the public and to his wife for having an affair.

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

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