Labour federation Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi apologised to the federation’s members and the country following recent allegations that he raped a colleague.
“I have erred and, in the process, embarrassed my family and disappointed many South Africans who looked to me to provide moral leadership,” he said today in a speech prepared for delivery at an SA Democratic Teachers’ Union biennial general meeting in Port Elizabeth.
He said he regretted making headlines for the wrong reasons.
“I have decided to come to your meeting to apologise to each one of you and through you, to all Cosatu members and every South African, for letting them down,” said Vavi.
News of the alleged rape surfaced last week in reports that Vavi was being accused by a 26-year-old married woman, whom he claimed had tried to extort R2 million from him.
Vavi denied raping the woman, but admitted to having consensual sex with her.
Cosatu held a hearing about the matter on Monday and it ended when the woman withdrew her grievance.
On Friday, Vavi said he had no one but himself to blame for the incident.
“I am only human and not a perfect saint. I have learnt so much from the mistake and I commit to never repeat the same, and in the process hand over to the enemies of the working class a victory on a silver platter.”
He said he would work hard to regain the lost trust of both his family and the nation.
“I am back on my feet. I have a mandate to fulfil,” he said.
After the hearing on Monday, Vavi said he would consult with his lawyers to consider action against the woman.
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