The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) on Monday reiterated its support for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma as the African National Congress (ANC) leader, which would, according to ANC tradition, see him become president of the country in 2019.
NUM general secretary David Sipunzi said the union believed its founding general secretary, Ramaphosa, was a good candidate for president despite public perception that as a billionaire businessman, he was part of monopoly capital.
Sipunzi was briefing the media following the union’s National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting that took place last week.
“The NEC reminded itself that the 2016 Central Committee of the NUM has, in early June, taken a decision to support the candidacy of Cyril Ramaphosa for president. This is not only based on the tradition of the ANC, but also on the suitability of the candidate,” Sipunzi said.
“Ramaphosa has put aside all his business interests to focus on politics. Ramaphosa has been deputy president, so we believe he has been groomed enough to take over as president.”
Zuma is expected to stand down as the ANC president at the party conference in December next year ahead of national elections in 2019 when his tenure as the country’s leader will also come to an end.
But the ANC Women’s League on Sunday reiterated its call for a female president and vowed to support a woman during the party’s national conference next year, presumably African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Sipunzi said though it was the prerogative of the leadership of the ANC to elect new leaders, the NUM as a workers’ vanguard had a vested interest as to who who leads the ANC.
Last week, ANCWL president Bathabile Dlamini accused the leaders of the Young Communist League (YCL) of not understanding women’s issues, saying they were suffering from “verbal diarrhoea”.
This was in response to the YCL statement that it would not back any candidates supported by the ANCWL, Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) or the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) to succeed Zuma as ANC president in December next year.
Responding to recent squabbles between the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) and YCL, Sipunzi said it was unacceptable for alliance partners to call each other derogatory names in full glare of the public and the media.
“We firmly believe that debates on this issue should be organisational and people must stop swearing at others, as that only serves to show how intolerant we are,” Sipunzi said.
Sipunzi also said NUM was concerned about escalating illegal mining activities and that the department of mineral resources (DMR) appeared unbothered.
“The relationship between the NUM and DMR Minister Mosebenzi Zwane is nonexistent. The minister does not see it necessary to forge relationship with us. The less said about him the better,” Sipunzi said.
On the South African Revenue Service (Sars) spy unit saga involving the Hawks and Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Sipunzi said the NUM noted with “grave concern” how the matter was being handled.
“We call upon the concerned parties to abide by the law. We believe that comrade Pravin Gordan is doing a good job as minister of finance but he is not a saint; there should be no special treatment for him,” Sipunzi said.
– African News Agency (ANA)