Trade union federation Cosatu is “looking at” a request to delete the name of Zwelinzima Vavi’s rape accuser from its website.
Patrick Craven, spokesperson for the trade union, said the union was considering the request by Sonke Gender Justice Network, but said this was “part and parcel of the internal process under way”.
Craven said there had been no further decision as to whether the union’s internal case against Cosatu would proceed, despite confirmation by the trade union federation that the woman had withdrawn the rape charge against Vavi.
Craven said that, as far as he was aware, an internal report by the chairperson who presided over the first day of the inquiry yesterday was not yet available.
But Mbuyiselo Botha, spokesperson for Sonke Gender Justice Network, said that Cosatu’s delay in deleting the women’s name from its website “called into doubt their own commitment to how gender-based violence is dealt with”.
He said that the woman’s name should have been removed as a matter of urgency if Cosatu wanted to send a “clear and unambiguous message that they take matters relating to women and gender-based violence” very seriously.
At the time of publication, the name of the woman was still contained in a section of Cosatu’s website.
Sonke had made the public request for Cosatu to remove the name on Monday.
Meanwhile, Vavi’s allies have started to close ranks around him.
In a statement issued by the National Union of Metalworkers of SA today, it expressed support for Vavi and attacked what it called the “sustained attack on the person of the general secretary of Cosatu, in their efforts to divide and weaken the working class and its revolutionary federation”.
It also lashed out at the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) for a statement that said a formal rape charge would have been preferable to the internal grievance procedure the victim had embarked upon.
“Nowhere in the ANCWL statement do they make even a hint that Comrade Vavi could be innocent.”
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