‘We are sitting on a ticking bomb’

Cosatu general-secretary Zwelinzima Vavi wants immediate answers on corruption allegations about top ANC leaders.

Pietermaritzburg – Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has demanded immediate answers on corruption allegations involving top ANC and government leaders.

This includes a charge that Gugu Mtshali, partner of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, solicited bribes in exchange for facilitating a business deal to sell helicopters to Iran.

Delivering a keynote address to Cosatu’s 11th KZN conference in Pietermaritzburg on Monday, Vavi warned of perceptions that government and ANC leaders were involved in corruption. This, he said, would make the people lose confidence in the ruling party.

He urged the more than 3 000 delegates to demand answers from leaders on corruption, saying that workers should be prepared to die to stop the scourge.

“We cannot afford more promises of tough action that do not materialise. Those who are facing allegations must be held to account now, not later,” he said.

On the issue of Mtshali, Vavi said the federation welcomed Motlanthe’s statement calling for the public protector to investigate the allegations. Public protector Thuli Madonsela should make her findings public without any delay, he said.


Vavi said another area of concern which needed unpacking was the allegation that Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa used more than R195 000 of public money from the Crime Intelligence Unit’s slush fund to renovate his KZN home.

While Mthethwa’s denial and his call for an investigation were welcome, Cosatu wanted the results made public, Vavi said.

He outlined a third case of questionable judgement.

“Recently we were told the Minister of Communications Dina Pule outsourced certain responsibilities to host the ICT Indaba to Carol Bouwer Design, then hired a company called Khemano to handle the events management of Indaba.

“That company is owned by Phosane Mngqibisa, who is allegedly romantically linked to the minister (Pule). We want to know if this is the truth,” said Vavi.

What was disappointing was that neither the ANC nor the gvernment were saying anything about the allegations.

“They hope our people will forget about them (the allegations) in no time. This is a mistake.”

Vavi urged workers to have zero tolerance to such practices, saying this was not only wrong but corruption crippled service in the country and was a recipe for uprising.

“We must not fool ourselves into thinking that the trade unions are immune from these corrupting tendencies. Our provincial and national congresses must ask searching questions about whether or not any of our leaders or officials are accepting money from employers in return for favours or looting provident or investment funds.”


Vavi warned of a pending revolution if the economic crisis was left to deepen while the ruling party squabbled over positions.

The “second transition” was a hollow slogan if it did not address the trends of deepening inequality and restlessness of the masses.

“In South Africa we are sitting on a ticking bomb. It will explode when the poor no longer tolerate promises. This will happen while the leadership is sitting in conference halls fighting about factions.

“Workers, in broken shoes, will march through the doors of these halls and wake you up to the sad reality they are facing,” he said. – The Mercury


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