“I have decided to come to your regional biennial general meeting to apologise to each one of you and through you, to all Cosatu members and every South African, for letting them down.
“I do not blame anyone but myself for the mistake. I do not want to compare myself to anyone but to my own standards that I have established as a family man who has championed the struggle to restore the basic tenants of society and our liberation movement, for integrity, honesty and service,” Vavi said in a speech prepared for the SA Democratic Teachers’ Union biennial general meeting in Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, yesterday.
Vavi said he is only a human and not a perfect saint.
“I have learnt so much from the mistake and I commit never to repeat the same, and in the process hand over to the enemies of the working class a victory on a silver platter.
“I want to acknowledge that in the recent period I have occupied newspaper headlines for very wrong reasons. 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.
The 26-year-old woman who accused of rape withdrew the case, following a two-hour internal inquiry at Cosatu House this week.
He vowed to work hard to regain the lost ground and trust of both his family and South Africans.
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi told The Citizen that the apology is unlikely to change the balance of support within Cosatu.
“The leadership of Cosatu is split in the middle with two factions. Those who support Vavi will take the view that he is a victim of political conspiracy.
“Those who are opposed to him will dispute an allegation that there is a political conspiracy against him,” he said.
Vavi added in his speech that the scandal would not derail his efforts to fulfill his mandate. “I will continue as part of the collective to take a battle to ensure Cosatu implements the decisions of its last congress and the Collective Bargaining, Organising and Campaigns conference.
“In particular we must campaign to ensure we that unions serve the purpose for which they were established. We must ensure we can rebuild so that we improve our capacity to defend workers against unfair disciplinary actions and dismissals. We must retain our tradition as a militant united force capable of fighting to improve workers’ wages and conditions of employment.
“Those who thought one of the remaining voices in a struggle to ensure the country defeats the scourge of corruption and abuse of power for selfish ends: I have news for you. I am here to beef up the numbers of soldiers for clean government and against mediocrity, wastage and ineptness that serves only to marginalise the working class and help entrench the status quo,” he warned.