Trade union federation Cosatu is treading carefully when it comes to the ANC’s succession debate, saying that the party’s traditions must be followed when choosing the next party leader.
This they said without necessarily endorsing Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, whom the federation is largely known to support.
Its top brass have asked the federation’s affiliates to continue discussing the matter, saying they do not want to be “reckless” and “loose”.
This is despite the ANC Youth League (ANCYL), ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) and Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association (MKMVA) having made public their pronouncements. These three ANC structures are in favour of outgoing chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC leader at the December 2017 elective national conference and ultimately as head of the state in 2019.
Insisting that Cosatu was cautious in dealing with the succession issue to avoid slates in the ANC, Cosatu boss Sdumo Dlamini said the federation was engaging in the discussion quite seriously and understood that it would have a huge impact on South African society.
“I know people are arguing that we expect Cosatu to be reckless and loose in saying this thing,” Dlamini said yesterday.
“We have allowed affiliates of Cosatu to continue discussing this matter; we are not pronouncing on any name as Cosatu. We are not doing that for now.”
Dlamini was speaking during a media briefing in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, following Cosatu’s special central executive committee (CEC) meeting.
Cosatu played an instrumental role in the election of Ramaphosa as ANC deputy president in Mangaung in 2012.
According to Cosatu’s national congress resolution, the ANC must follow its traditions and history when it chooses its future president.
The ANC tradition dictates that a deputy president always succeeds the president when his or her term of office ends.
However, ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini said on Monday: “What I think is going to happen now is we are all going to … bring an issue that is not in the constitution so that we [can’t] block women from standing for particular positions.”
Dlamini, in an apparent reference to Dlamini-Zuma, said South Africa had capable women who were leaders of the ANC in their own right.