Unions rally behind Vavi

Nine Cosatu affiliates will hold a briefing today to raise issues about Vavi's absence from work.

Zwelinzima Vavi was suspended from Cosatu in August 2013. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is expected to receive public support from the federation today when nine affiliates hold a briefing to raise issues about his absence from work.

Vavi was suspended from Cosatu in August 2013 after he admitted to having sex with a junior employee who had initially accused him of rape.

He has since apologised for his actions but maintains he did not break any Cosatu rules.

Since then several Cosatu unions have spoken out against its leadership, with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) threatening to withdraw its affiliation fee.

In December, Numsa held its own special congress where it withdrew support for the ANC and President Jacob Zuma.

Numsa's decision sent shock waves through the political community.

The Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu) has also called for Vavi to be reinstated.

Fawu general secretary Katishi Masemola says, "Our understanding is that there was only supposed to be a charge relating to the outcome of the grievance proceedings on sexual harassment. So if there were to be additional charges we think it makes the situation even more complicated."