He led a Numsa march in Durban, as part of nationwide protest by the Cosatu affiliate union.
After Vavi’s suspension last year, had in recent times come under fire from ANC leaders, who had accused him of disrespecting the ruling party.
However, Vavi told thousands of Numsa members at the march, that he had become unpopular in the eyes of certain leaders within the alliance after speaking the truth.
“When we say it should not only be leaders benefiting from the fruits of our struggle, then people condemn us. When we defend Numsa against those who want to turn the union into a toothless dog, then people start hating us,” he said.
Numsa is one of eight unions affiliated to Cosatu calling for a special congress which they believe will lift Vavi’s suspension and oust the federation’s current President S’dumo Dlamini, whom they accuse of conspiring with ruling party leaders to suppress the interests of workers.
Numsa secretary in KwaZulu-Natal, Mbuso Ngubane, told the union’s members to refuse to be used in campaigns aimed at discrediting Madonsela.
“To those who have issues against the public protector, we say to you take her to court and refrain from using workers to wage a campaign against her – this is a legal matter,” he said.