Union boss faces sexual harassment claims

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Sello Theletsane

Africa News 24-7 has been reliably informed that South African Federation of Trade Union’s General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi is facing fresh sexual harassment claims which are alleged to have been covered up by various union leaders after the victim, a female employee of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) lodged a complaint with the union.

Information leaked to Africa News 24-7 alleges that in August last year, Vavi made inappropriate advances of a sexual nature towards a female cleaner who works for NUMSA.

According to information leaked by a high-ranking source at NUMSA, Vavi made sexual advances at SAFTU’s offices, cornering and groping the woman in his office even after she allegedly refused his advances.

According to leaked information, after the woman notified the union and word got around of the alleged incident another high-ranking female employee, whose name is known to Africa News 24-7 was sent to “deal” with the victim and facilitate and mediation between three, making the woman face her alleged abuser in the process.

It is still yet unclear as to why NUMSA did not call for the immediate suspension of Vavi pending an internal investigation after these allegations surfaced towards the end of last year, however, Africa News 24-7 has been reliably informed that Irvin Jim had gotten involved and helped sweep the matter under the carpet.

However, other sources claim that Vavi and Jim have fallen out, and that the sexual harassment claims could be a ploy to tarnish Vavi’s name and push him out of union circles as was alleged when he was the General Secretary of COSATU.

Africa News 24-7 could not reach Vavi and Jim to answer to the allegations levelled against at the time of publication.

This is a developing story