Home South African Vavi belongs in political dustbin, says MK Party

Vavi belongs in political dustbin, says MK Party

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Responding to the regret expressed by trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi over his past support for former president Jacob Zuma, uMkhonto weSizwe Youth League interim secretary-general Minenhle Cibane said the MK Party would not waste time on him because he “belongs in a political dustbin”.

MK Youth League interim secretary-general Minenhle Cibane lashed out at Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: Supplied

RESPONDING to the regret expressed by trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi over his past support for former president Jacob Zuma, uMkhonto weSizwe Youth League (MKYL) interim secretary-general Minenhle Cibane said MK would not waste time on Vavi because he “belongs in a political dustbin”.

Last week, on the Sunday Times Politics Weekly podcast, Vavi, who is the general secretary of the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), conceded that while he has had setbacks, the “tragic mistake” he still kicked himself over was his support for Zuma becoming president of the ANC and the Republic.

“The only mistake, and the biggest mistake, is that I was convinced by some members of both Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the South African Communist Party (SACP) that the then deputy president of the ANC, Jacob Zuma, was going to be good for the agenda of the working class and therefore we must rally workers behind him”, Vavi said.

Jacob Zuma and Zwelinzima Vavi in better days. File picture: Henk Kruger

In response to this, the Zuma-backed MK Youth wing said there was nothing revolutionary or genuine about Vavi because he was a “failed unionist, who has lived out his life trying to make it in the trade union movement by pleasing the master”.

“He was a general secretary of Cosatu and ran it into the ground. He was removed primarily because of his conduct. He could not conduct himself as a leader, but conducted himself in a manner that put the union in disrepute … Vavi cannot tell us about regretting supporting Zuma because he is an opportunist trying to please the masters.

“He is trying to please Cyril Ramaphosa and a few others with the hope that his political career will be resurrected … because Vavi is in a political dustbin and nobody cares about what he says today.

“He was expelled from Cosatu because he took advantage of his vulnerable staff and slept with a woman who was a junior staff member in the Cosatu headquarters. Even worse, he slept with her in the office. What kind of a man is that? What kind of leader is that? Who can sleep with an employee of the union in the offices of the organisation while he is married? He messed up and divided Cosatu, that is why he was expelled,” said Cibane.

Cibane also accused Vavi of having a “destructive character”, which was the reason Saftu was inactive in advancing the interest of its members.

“Where is Saftu today? It is nowhere, no one cares about it because its leader is a failed trade unionist, he even went and divided the National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa). Numsa is divided and we know Vavi and the leader of Numsa no longer see eye to eye because Vavi is the problem and thinks that everything is about him. He has an exaggeration of self-importance and he thinks that his views matter.”

Cibane said Vavi should concern himself with leading the workers’ struggle and ensuring workers received decent salary increases, as well as ensuring the national minimum wage requirements were met.

“Domestic workers and security guards are being paid peanuts. Government employees’ salaries are not being increased, yet you were the general secretary who was able to spend close to R15 000 spoiling a dog,” said Cibane.

As the then SG of Cosatu, Vavi, with the then SG of the SACP, Blade Nzimande, threw his weight behind and backed Zuma’s campaign for the ANC presidency over former president Thabo Mbeki. In the 2007 Polokwane elective conference, Zuma defeated Mbeki, who was seeking a third term as both ANC leader and president of South Africa.

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