Zwelinzima Vavi leading the march to Aids Conference in Durban in 2016
LAST week I asked if we care if a politician is a womaniser and gave examples from around the world which seemed to suggest the public really couldn’t give a toss. http://uncensoredopinion.co.za/really-care-politician-womaniser/
Kobedi, one of UnCensored readers responded at length (see comment in the response to the article “Do We Really Care if a Politician is a Womaniser). But it is this bit that attracted my attention most: “To answer the question you posed, people may not care whether or not a Presidential hopeful is a womanizer or not, but people will care when that person is the Chairperson of an HIV Council”.
But Dear Kobedi, I’d say to you not even the HIV/AIDS activists care. I have not yet heard their response to allegations that the man who leads the HIV Council had an extra-marital affair and may have had several with other women including very young ones. Ramaphosa has refuted claims he’s a blesser but accepted he had an affair with a doctor who was mentioned in the Sunday Independent’s sex allegations.
But leave that aside for now. Do you remember when the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), Section27 and a US-based group Gap, marched through the streets of Durban to the opening of the International Aids Conference? They were going to hand-over a memorandum demanding the need for HIV/Aids patients to access antiretrovirals. Do you remember who was right at the front leading the march?
It was non other than trade-unionist Zwelinzima Vavi who had had unprotected sex with an employee whom he head-hunted for nothing else but sexual gain. In 2013, Vavi admitted to have had sex with his subordinate, Jacqueline Phooko, in an office at COSATU’s head office. She said it was rape and he said it was consensual. At the time Vavi said she was an extortionist who was being used by his opponents in COSATU to damage his political career. In other words he too was suggesting it was some form of smear campaign and called her “nopatazana” (woman with low morals) at a rally. She is suing him, COSATU and NUMSA for R4m in damages.
Not even AIDS activists thought the choice of VAVI was ill considdred. Despite his sexcapade being widely reported, they still used him as one of its leading marchers in the fight against AIDS. Completely crass if you ask me. But that’s the way the world works isn’t it? Men with power can literally get away with anything.