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In his keynote address to the civil society conference hosted by Cosatu in Boksburg yesterday, Vavi lashed out at "the BEE types who blow up to R700,000 in one night on parties".
He said these members of the "predatory elite" were encouraging everyone else to adopt greedy, hyena-like behaviour.
City Press reported on Sunday that politically connected businessman Kenny Kunene spent R700,000 on his 40th birthday at Zar in Sandton a week ago.
ANCYL leader Julius Malema and President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson, Zizi Kodwa, were both guests at the bash, where women dressed only in underwear clung to Kunene's arm.
"I am told at one party sushi was served from the bodies of half-naked ladies. It is the sight of these parties, where the elite display their wealth, often secured by questionable methods, that turns my stomach," Vavi said.
He accused the host and his guests of "spitting in the faces of the poor".
When the ANC wins local government elections next year, this elite "will host victory parties to scavenge on the carcass of our people like the typical hyenas they are".
Vavi warned that drastic action might be needed to bring the "predatory elite" to their senses.
He said if cabinet ministers and MPs were forced to give up their medical aids and use public hospitals, and if they were all forced to live on R322 a month, only then would they act against poverty.
He also slammed Aurora mine bosses Khulubuse Zuma and Zondwa Mandela, saying they had become overnight multimillionaires through their political connections.
"Hundreds of workers have not been paid for 10 months by their black empowerment bosses in the company called Aurora," Vavi said.
"Young people in their 20s and 30s have become overnight multimillionaires. We are rewarding laziness, greed and corruption and discouraging hard work, honesty and integrity."