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Mr Loose pants or victims of conspiracy?

COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has been at the frontline of many battles in his political life against injustices in the labour market. But today he faces probably his biggest challenge.

29 July, 5pm

Vavi said in a tweet on Monday afternoon that the person who accused him of sexual harassment and rape had withdrawn her grievance. In a statement on Cosatu’s website which followed the tweet, Vavi said he was pleased the accusations had been withdrawn.

The accuser withdrew her grievance two hours into an internal hearing.

29 July, 11.21am

Vavi is appearing before an internal grievance hearing following a complaint of sexual harassment by a married colleague.

Vavi admitted to having sex with the complainant in a Cosatu office in January, days before his wife Noluthando gave birth to their twins.

He claimed that his colleague and him had an affair that began in October last year. However, the woman alleged that she was raped.

After the news broke on the weekend, some believed the allegations were a campaign to discredit Vavi and drive him out of politics. Social media was abuzz with bloggers writing his political obituary.

Others pointed to Cosatu’s defiance against e-tolling and said it left Vavi’s detractors with no option but to take him off the scene. There is also a belief he is a victim of political leadership tussles.

Guilty or not, the trade unionist is now firmly on the list of prominent people here and abroad who been embroiled in a sex or rape scandal. And he is in good company too.

In December 2005, President Jacob Zuma was charged with the rape of an HIV-positive family friend. He was acquitted in May 2006.

DA leader in Kwazulu Natal John Steenhuisen resigned in 2010 after an affair with provincial spokesman Terry Kass-Beaumont became public.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula had an affair with model Joyce Molamu in 2011. He later apologised.

In 2006, ANC Chief Whip Mbulelo Goniwe was booted out of Parliament after being found guilty of sexual harassment.

Internationally, wrestler Hulk Hogan was stunned when intimate footage of himself and Heather Clem appeared online in 2012. Clem was the estranged wife of his best friend, Bubba the Love Sponge.

Also last year, actor John Travolta was accused of having had a six-year homosexual relationship with his pilot.

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