Vavi saga raises questions for ordinary citizens

Did he or did he not? This is a question on many people’s mind following reports that Zwelinzima Vavi was accused of raping a 26 year-old woman. Vavi is the General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the young lady who made the allegations works together with him at Cosatu House. This makes Vavi her boss and at age 50 also a father figure. This story took many twists and turns with the lady accusing Vavi of rape while he argues that they had consensual sex.

This escapade apparently took place in one of the offices in Cosatu House. The woman has subsequently dropped the charge of rape and sexual harassment while Vavi still mulls over his next move regarding these damaging allegations. He had laid a charge of extortion after the supposed rape victim demanded R2 million from Vavi in exchange for her silence. It has since emerged that she was offered R1 million by Vavi’s “enemies” to help them bring down the Cosatu strongman.

In South Africa almost every prominent politician has enemies and faceless individuals who constantly plot their downfall. There are apparently conspirators and people with nefarious motives who are behind attempts to unseat Cosatu’s General Secretary. It is claimed that they are ones responsible for the troubles following Vavi. On SAFM there was a discussion this week about conspirators and the possibility that they might be involved in this saga.

What is the real issue?
All of this brings me to a question. Should the focus be about those who seek to use Vavi’s infidelity to their advantage or should the issue be about infidelity? It is expected that there will be people who would seek to gain mileage from Vavi’s lapse because this is how the game of politics is played in South Africa. However, by engaging in illicit sex, Vavi is the one who gave his supposed enemies ammunition against him.

Most of all, he has committed adultery which is an act that is repugnant to God and those who respect the sanctity of marriage. I know that adultery is not illegal in this country but it is with God. The incident surrounding Vavi was compared by some to the rape accusations against President Jacob Zuma. Vavi was projected as an innocent victim as was Zuma when he faced rape accusations.

In both situations the insinuation is that women are planted and used against powerful men. This suggests that these men are unable to control themselves when they are in the presence of a female. The fact that these men are married and are more than twice the age of their sexual partners is hardly mentioned. I am concerned about the moral quotient of this nation but have to remind myself that we as Christians have not been good role models either.

We also have our own scandals that we sweep under the carpet or some that we rationalise. What is interesting about Vavi is the fact that many have been seeing him as a moral crusader because of his outspoken stance against corruption. Has he now been compromised? Has he lost the moral high ground? As a seasoned politician I think he will ride this one out. This is despite the fact that Cosatu is considering charging him for misconduct and bringing the party into disrepute.

Do you notice that no one has ever been charged for bringing the country into disrepute or damaging the reputation of the country? This is despite any position a person occupies in the governance of the nation. Consideration is only given for the “party” and its reputation. What does this tell us? It tells us that it is up to us ordinary citizens to defend and uphold the country. Political parties and trade unions have narrow interests.

They will only pick those fights that pertain to the wellbeing of their members even if everyone else suffers. A case in point is a protracted teachers’ strike which ends up disadvantaging pupils. Our country has a big leadership vacuum and it seems to be getting bigger by the day. This could either get us disillusioned or spur us into action. We could and should respond to this call for morally-upstanding citizens to take up active roles in society.

(Photo of Zwelinzima Vavi: SOWETAN)


  1. I need an email adress for Afrika Mhlophe urgently. Thanks.

  2. U know what moruti what sadns m is the fact that we weman allow these men 2 use us bcoz whether Vavi or Zuma were guilty what ar we doing with married men coz theyr just using us 2 pass tym and in the prosess we loose our self dignty and morality and also their weakness is costing them they are role models and they should behave lyk1 there wuldnt b any ammunition against them

    • What you are saying is really sad sis Lungiswa. May the open the eyes of those who are allowing themselves to be used this way. Thank you

  3. Well-expressed, Afrika. We need a Christian commentary on this hot topic. I applaud your contrite observation: “We as Christians have not been good role-models either”. 20 minutes ago I read an email exposing the adulteries of senior church-people who assist each other in cover-ups to maintain their power and control. Let each of us who ‘names Jesus as Lord depart from iniquity’ (2Tim 2:19), for ‘the grace of God trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age’ (Titus 2:11,12) lest we end up ‘outside with the sexually immoral, idolators and those who love and practice falsehood’ (Rev 22:15).

    • Thanks Hugh.
      The email you are referring to is shocking. A few minutes ago I was reading a book by Dr. Robert Morey entitled, Fearing God – The Key to the Treasure House of Heaven. Basically the author bemoans the lack of the fear of God in today’s Church. One of the things he says are responsible for this condition is “liberal theology.” He says liberal theology gives the impression that there is nothing in God to fear.
      So it seems we have a lot of work to do.

  4. Henk van Loggerenberg

    I could not have said it better, and agree with you 100%

  5. Pastor Ken Pattison

    Jacob Zuma did it .So Vavi is doing it. If the head is corrupt the whole body is corrupt.

    • Well you have a point there Pastor Ken. As long as the head is not clean the whole body cannot be clean. After all it is the head that controls the body.

    • In the bible men of God like Abraham had concubines. When, How and why did this practise became extinct in bible-believing communities?

  6. Rev Ian Karshagen

    Well put, Afrika!

    • Thank you Rev Ian. I am looking forward to visiting with you in Maclear Baptist Church. I got your email helping me understand where Maclear is situated.
      Thank you

  7. Excellent review of the situation. We needed the moral servant leaders desperately.

    • That is true Peta-Ann. Without these servant leaders with a moral compass I am concerned about the direction we are taking.
      The current crop have lost their bearings and are taking us on a bumpy ride.

  8. and again I say, well written.

  9. Tembekile Ntonga

    Yah Man of God I’m also concerned about where our country is going, I mean the fact that Vavi commited adultery is not an issue to these people (party leaders), we as christians we owe it to the country to show them how real man should treat their woman, thank u Pastor for people like u who speak their mind, and stand for truth.

  10. It’s true we need restoration of MORAL FIBRE in SA nd only Jesus can help us attain that.Wish SA citizens would choose party that believes nd practices Christianity.Hope and pray Kingdom GovernanceMovement could really b the best option,as it defines itself.

  11. It is true, we need restoraation of MORAL FIBRE in SA.Wish all SA citizens would choose a party that believes nd practices Christianity.Hope nd pray that KIngdom Governance Movement is the best option,as it defines itself.

  12. A president who mocks God, what is the results, corruption is a way of life, imorral standards like rape, murder, child and woman abuse, adultery is the fruit. If my people who are called by my Name should humble themselves and pray I will forgive there sins and heal there land, SA needs Jesus