Mandela home 'was bugged'
Prominent South African labour leader claims surveillance took place in 2007.
Last Modified: 26 Aug 2010 17:20 GMT
Despite the ongoing public-sector strikes, the labour movement still broadly supports the ANC [AFP]

A prominent South African trade union leader has claimed that the home of Nelson Mandela was bugged in 2007.

Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), said on Thursday that the anti-apartheid icon's home was under surveillance during a tumultuous period for the governing African National Congress party.

"Yes, a bug was found in his place, we know that as a matter of fact, because we had ... discussions with him [Mandela]," Vavi said.

He alleged that Mandela's house was bugged during the build-up to the crucial ANC national conference in 2007 in which Jacob Zuma, the president, managed oust his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, as ANC head.

It is believed that factions within the ruling ANC party spied on each other during those tense times.

Mandela's grandson, Mandla Mandela, who is a member of parliament, said he could not comment because he had no knowledge of the matter.

Brian Sokutu, an ANC spokesman, also claimed ignorance but said that the ANC would be alarmed if an invasion of anyone's home took place, "particularly the house of a leader".

Vavi presented the results of high-level Cosatu deliberations on Thursday and concluded: "We are headed in the direction of a full-blown predator state, in which a powerful, corrupt and demagogic elite of political hyenas increasingly controls the state ...''

He said that ANC politicians in upcoming local elections could not expect Cosatu's support if they were corrupt or unproductive.

Meanwhile, the union confederation has split with the ANC on economic matters, supporting a nationwide public service strike that entered its second week on Thursday.

Civil servants are demanding an 8.6 per cent pay raise and a 1,000 rand ($137) housing allowance.

The government is offering a seven per cent wage increase plus 700 rand ($96) for housing, and says it cannot afford any more.

Associated Press
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.