Media allegations of sexual misconduct of the SAFTU General Secretary

SAFTU has noted with concern that faceless individuals with a clear malicious intent and pursuing a political agenda not only against the SAFTU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi and the NUMSA General Secretary, Irvin Jim, but to also destabilize both SAFTU and NUMSA, have taken confidential internal information and splashed it in the public arena.

For the record it is true that a NUMSA staff member expressed her discomfort and made allegations that the SAFTU General Secretary made unwanted sexual advances and or handled her inappropriately.

The allegations were made during September 2017. On the same day these allegations were brought to the attention of the SAFTU National Office Bearers, they acted swiftly.

NUMSA and SAFTU provided, at a senior level, an opportunity to the complainant to express herself and advise how she wished to see the matter handled.

The SAFTU General Secretary was also separately approached for his version of what had transpired between the two. He denied the allegations.

Following this facilitated process, the complainant advised that she requested a formal apology from the General Secretary of SAFTU to settle the matter. It was her desire to have the matter settled informally, and kept confidential. To this end, both parties agreed in writing that there had been a misunderstanding between themselves.

The complainant accepted and was satisfied with the intervention and twice stated that she did not wish to take the matter any further.

The Code of Good Practice dictates that the complainant in all cases of alleged sexual harassment must be afforded the opportunity not only to determine the process to follow, but also the opportunity to decide at the end if the matter was resolved to their satisfaction. Further, the complainant must be afforded the opportunity to determine whether they wish to pursue the matter further, at the end of the process they themselves have participated in determining.

When the complainant twice stated that she is did not wish to pursue the matter any further and was satisfied with how the matter had been handled and resolved, the matter was then laid to rest. She signed to this effect.

SAFTU is satisfied that this matter was handled fairy, with the best interests of the complainant at the heart of the chosen process. In our view justice was served.

Our commitment to a society that will defeat thousands of years of patriarchy remains unshaken. These allegations against the person who is the public face of the organisation tested our resolve to the creation of a workplace and society free from sexual harassment and violence.

We have frequently demanded that employers take strong action in particular against cases involving senior leadership or management to send an unequivocal message that sexual harassment and gender violence are not tolerated and that an environment free from these evils is created. SAFTU does not want to contradict that commitment in any way even in the case involving its most senior leaders such as the General Secretary.

We also wish to set the record the straight that the media frenzy or allegations of a fall out between the SAFTU and NUMSA General Secretaries is a wishful thinking.  Those planting this poison in both SAFTU and NUMSA are deliberately trying to drive a wedge between leaders of our federation. They will not succeed.

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