Vavi: Cosatu has a bright future

Vavi says he believes Cosatu members can see through the lies being peddled by the federation.

Suspended Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Sapa.

JOHANNESBURG - Suspended Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says he still has a bright future in the federation and is confident its members won't allow the organisation to be hijacked.

Vavi was suspended from Cosatu in August 2013 after admitting to having sex with a junior employee who had initially accused him of rape, and has since also been charged with alleged corruption relating to the sale of Cosatu House.

Vavi says he believes Cosatu members can see through the lies apparently being peddled by the federation and government leaders.

"I see a great future for Cosatu because the overwhelming majority of members want a Cosatu that will not say a swimming pool is a fire pool."

Vavi claims Cosatu's leadership has now become afraid to leave the fate of the organisation in the hands of its members.

"I know at such a congress Cosatu members will defend the character of a militant fighting organisation."

Meanwhile, Vavi has lashed out at auditing firm Sizwe Nstaluba Gobodo.

He claims the firm presented its findings of an investigation on him to Cosatu's senior leadership without allowing him to respond.

The final report into the sale of Cosatu House was presented to the trade union federation this week.

The audit found several irregularities, including an alleged conflict of interest on the part of the suspended general secretary.

Vavi says he is surprised by the release of the document, which describes him as "unprofessional".

He claims the firm reneged on an agreement to allow him to respond before releasing the document.

"They have made a specific commitment that we will be offered an opportunity to respond."

He says his organisation's leadership has wasted millions investigating him instead of attending to the needs of members.

Vavi says the only people that are suffering while his suspension drags on are Cosatu's members.

"The leadership has gone out of their way to waste millions employing a forensic auditor on top of another forensic auditor to try and find something against me."

Vavi says he is now consulting with his legal team.

"We are looking at whether the South African Institute of Auditors will want to hear us when we say this firm has broken every ethical and professional standards."

The troubled unionist is also reportedly planning to sue Cosatu for releasing parts of the report to the public.

Vavi says no final decision has been taken yet.