S.Africa's Cosatu trade union boss suspended: reports

15th August 2013, Comments 0 comments

The besieged head of South Africa's politically-allied Cosatu trade union was suspended Wednesday night amid political in-fighting and a sex scandal, according to media reports.

The executive committee of the Congress of South African Trade Unions suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi after a marathon 10-hour meeting, City Press newspaper and radio's Eyewitness News reported, citing multiple unnamed sources.

Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven declined to comment, saying a statement would be issued on Thursday.

Vavi could not be reached for comment.

A Cosatu employee last month accused the 50-year-old of rape.

But he claimed he had had an affair with the woman, revealing graphic details of their sexual encounter at the federation's Johannesburg headquarters.

The 26-year-old employee later withdrew her complaint, but it now seems Vavi will face a disciplinary hearing.

He has slammed the allegations as a political plot to unseat him.

Vavi led the two million-member federation for 14 years, but has come under fire recently for his open criticism of President Jacob Zuma.

Cosatu and Zuma's African National Congress (ANC) are in a ruling alliance and the country's largest union federation is a valuable source of votes for the former liberation movement.

The tensions around Vavi's leadership threatens to divide the federation as he enjoys strong support from its largest member the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA).

A split in Cosatu might jeopardise the ruling alliance and weaken the ANC's vote base.

© 2013 AFP

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