Vavi won’t stop ‘speaking truth to power’ despite death threats
Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi will not stop speaking truth to power despite fearing for his life after receiving “serious” death threats for the second time in two years.
Vavi was speaking at the International Anti-Corruption Day at the University of South Africa’s senate hall where he accepted his appointment as chairperson of the National Anti-Corruption Forum.
Vavi was disappointed that nothing had come of an investigation by authorities into the first death threats he received in 2010 and now he has had to increase security at his home and has two bodyguards, who are the labour federation’s shop stewards, to protect him.
This comes after crime intelligence’s Major General Chris Ngcobo told him that there was a plot to kill Vavi by poison in an apparent plan that involves crime intelligence operatives from Iran.
Asked whether he was scared Vavi said: “Scared? Yes I am. But will I turn my back on what is right? I wouldn’t. If I wasn’t scared I wouldn’t have bodyguards.
“I have bodyguards. At home I have put up security measures. This is not the first death threat I’m getting. I’ve had two in a space of two years. All of them were reported in high offices in the minister of state security and general or commissioner of police,” said Vavi.
He said he was still waiting for the report from security authorities on the first threat he received in 2010.
“The first one (death threat) that came in 2010, there is no report until today. This one came a very few days after a highly contested Cosatu congress. It (threat) is there. What can I do?
“This is the hazard of speaking truth to power. Other people are long gone (dead), at least I’ve been warned to put up insurance for kids and all of that,” said Vavi, who was elected unopposed during the Cosatu congress.
He did not believe that any Cosatu member, as alleged by the Ngcobo, would plot to have him killed for money.
According to reports, the plot involved an Iranian intelligence agent, one of Vavi’s bodyguards and a member of a non-governmental organisation.
His bodyguards were now “shop stewards” who had decided to “forego everything to come and look after me to ensure that I am safe”.
“It would be impossible that workers will collaborate with some foreign Iran intelligence to take me out for money. Come on guys?” he said.