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Vavi rape allegations spark concern

Aug 02 2013 10:51

A colleague brought a complaint of sexual harassment against Zwelinzima Vavi, but it was withdrawn during an internal grievance proceeding. (Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Workplaces need to develop policies to protect men and women from sexual misconduct, the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) said on Thursday.

"The CGE calls on all places of employment to be vigilant by developing and creating policies that ensure that workplaces are safe for women and men of our country," it said in a statement.

The commission was reacting to the recent allegation of rape against Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi.

A woman who made the accusation was Vavi's work colleague. Last week, Vavi released documents to the media, including an internal complaint by the woman in which she accuses him of rape.

Rape vs consensual sex

Vavi denied raping her, saying they had consensual sex. He admitted to an extramarital affair but claimed she later attempted to extort R2m from him.

The woman brought a complaint of sexual harassment against him, but it was withdrawn during an internal grievance proceeding this week.

The CGE said the allegation was "unfortunate".

"Sexual misconduct in the workplace must be avoided," it said.

"We, therefore, request that responsible and accountable leaders must cover themselves in glory at all times and be exemplary to the youth."

'I'm sorry'

On Friday, Vavi apologised to its members and the country following the allegations.

"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 in a speech prepared for delivery at an SA Democratic Teachers' Union biennial general meeting in Port Elizabeth.

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.

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