Zwelinzima Vavi: I will not vote ANC

Vavi says he can't vote for the governing party with Jacob Zuma at its helm.

FILE: South African Federation of Unions (Saftu) general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

CAPE TOWN - South African Federation of Trade Union (Saftu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi says he will not vote for the African National Congress (ANC) under its current leadership.

The former Congress of South African Trade Unions general secretary has rejected an invitation from the South African Communist Party (SACP) to attend its national congress underway in Johannesburg.

Vavi says he can't vote for the governing party with Jacob Zuma at its helm.

“I won’t be able to do that and sleep at night. Voting for the ANC under the current circumstances will be effectively endorsing Jacob Zuma’s nefarious activities together with this foreign family, the Guptas.”

Vavi’s comments come as deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday criticized the corruption that has damaged the ruling party under Zuma, opening a divide in the ANC months ahead of a leadership contest.

LISTEN: Why Zwelinzima Vavi won't vote for the ANC

When the ANC picks Zuma's successor in December, Ramaphosa is expected to face off against veteran politician Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the former African Union chairperson.

Ramaphosa is viewed as more investor friendly and has pledged to fight the corruption that has plagued Zuma's tenure. Dlamini-Zuma appeals to ANC grassroots and has the support of Zuma's well-established patronage network.

Zuma's business friends, the Guptas, have been accused by ANC politicians and the opposition of using their close relationship with Zuma and his allies to influence the awarding of government contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

LISTEN: Zuma losing sleep over #GuptaLeaks?

The Guptas, Indian-born South Africans, and Zuma deny wrongdoing.

However, leaked emails show how millions of dollars of state-funds were diverted in 2013 to pay for a four-day Gupta family wedding at the luxury Sun City resort outside Johannesburg.

Zuma has said that a flurry of media reports in the last six weeks based on a massive leak of emails from Gupta companies are speculation. In his strongest statement to date against the Guptas, Ramaphosa disagreed with his boss.

"We know that we as taxpayers of this country paid for a lavish wedding that took place in Sun City," Ramaphosa told members of the SACP, which has called for Zuma to step down over a string of corruption scandals.


"We also know that these are resources that rightly belong to the people of South Africa. Should we remain quiet when all this happens? I am one of those who will not remain quiet."

Ramaphosa called for a judicial inquiry into state capture because of allegations that many parts of the government are involved.

A Gupta family spokesperson and a Zuma's spokesperson did not respond to request for comment.

London-based public relations firm Bell Pottinger apologised last week and said it had suspended a partner after it was accused of stirring racial tensions in a PR campaign it ran while working for the Guptas.

LISTEN: #GuptaLeaks: Cat's out of the bag – what now?

Bell Pottinger ended their relationship with Gupta-owned Oakbay in April.

In its advice to Zuma's son Duduzane, director of a Gupta company, Bell Pottinger stressed the need to highlight the "existence of economic apartheid".

This preceded Zuma and Dlamini-Zuma's supporters publicly saying that state capture investigations should focus on white-owned businesses and attacked their opponents in the ANC as being agents of "white monopoly capital".

Ramaphosa hit back on Wednesday.

"It is a matter of grave concern that a public relations company from outside of our country was able to so effectively poison the political discourse in our country," he said.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)