'Cosatu has a bigger plan'

Zwelinzima Vavi says there is a bigger plan within Cosatu to silence anyone deemed as a threat.

Cosatu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is seen at a news conference in Johannesburg on Wednesday, 29 May 2013. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu) General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says there is a bigger plan within Cosatu to silence anyone who is deemed as a threat.

Vavi was put on special leave by the federation's Central Executive Committee on Wednesday after admitting to having sex with a junior employee at their headquarters.

Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Friday afternoon, Vavi said his suspension is the culmination of a year-long political campaign to remove him from the federation, led by Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini.

Vavi said he had to break his silence before his enemies had the opportunity to tear him apart in a 'kangaroo court' used to their own advantage.

"South Africa better wake up now before you can no longer raise your own fingers because they will be broken."

Vavi said there is a serious effort to create an image of him wanting to start his own political party, which forms part of a plot to drag his name and those of several other prominent leaders, through the mud.

"They were suggesting that I must not put these issues to the public. Even when I know about their existence like a ship quietly going into the slagpad."

Vavi said he has apologised for having an affair with an employee but it's clear that his enemies are using the sex scandal for their political plot to oust him.

He said people are throwing stones at him who have committed far worse crimes than what he has done.

Meanwhile, the National Union of Metalworkers' of South Africa (Numsa) believes Vavi's opponents will emphasise on what it referred to as "the genuine mistake of the leader" in order to aid them in their political battle.

"Independent of whether Zwelinzima Vavi remains the General Secretary of Cosatu or not, there are irreparable ideological ruptures within the federation. These ruptures are fundamentally between those who want a two class Cosatu and those who want the federation to continue to advance the interests of the poor."

Numsa, the biggest trade union affiliated to Cosatu, has rejected Vavi's suspension.

Numsa General Secretary Irvin Jim says it will fight tooth and nail to make sure Cosatu doesn't turn into a lapdog.

Jim said there is a political conspiracy to destroy Cosatu and liquidate Numsa.

The union fears Jim is the next target.

He said Numsa will fight to defend Cosatu from being destroyed.

"We are not surprised we have been having this sustained programme to ensure that Vavi is basically removed. Within both the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) there are forces who are hell-bent on working 24 hours a day with those in Cosatu to ensure that Cosatu will be made a lap dog."