Public thirsty for answers

The writing had long been on the wall for Cosatu president Willy Madisha, who was this week axed from his position over the missing R500000 donation to the South African Communist Party.

The writing had long been on the wall for Cosatu president Willy Madisha, who was this week axed from his position over the missing R500000 donation to the South African Communist Party.

This development comes as no surprise because, with his head on the block, it was obvious all along that Madisha's axing was a foregone conclusion.

The whole saga has been riddled with unanswered questions from the minute he received the money from businessman Charles Modise in 2002.

Madisha claims he gave the alleged donation to SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, who has denied any knowledge of the money.

Without being contemptuous, such a donation - in cash stashed in plastic bags in the boot of Madisha's car - should have raised some suspicions.

He should have swiftly pursued the matter by enquiring further and reporting the alleged donation to the relevant party structures.

His failure to do so was to ultimately result in his dismissal by Cosatu this week. Compounding matters is the fact that Madisha disclosed the alleged donation only after Modise had laid a complaint - five years after the alleged transaction.

The timing of Madisha's disclosure raised questions at the time, when tensions were high within the tripartite alliance between the supporters of President Thabo Mbeki and those of his former deputy Jacob Zuma.

The fact that Madisha was a known Mbeki ally and that his revelations risked tarnishing the image of Nzimande, a staunch Zuma supporter, added fuel to the already raging fire between the two camps.

Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi, speaking at a media briefing, said Madisha's dismissal did not mean he had been automatically found guilty. He was fired because the manner in which he handled the matter had raised doubts about his leadership abilities.

Madisha's allegations, though, are still the subject of a police investigation.

We hope Madisha will be afforded the opportunity to state his case in court. His claims will then be put to the test.

The public eagerly awaits answers to this half-a-million rand question.

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