The Cosatu-affiliated National Education and Allied Health Workers’ Union (Nehawu) has warned against electing former African Union Commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma as the next ANC leader, saying she will be a proxy of a faction within the ANC.
In an interview with The Citizen on Wednesday, Nehawu general secretary Bereng Soke raised concerns that under the leadership of Dlamini-Zuma state capture and factionalism in the ruling party would continue.
He argued strongly that those supporting Dlamini-Zuma to succeed her former husband, President Jacob Zuma, have ulterior motives.
“We don’t doubt the leadership of Dlamini-Zuma but we think it is not conducive for her to lead the ANC at this juncture,” Soke said.
His comments come as it has become clear Dlamini-Zuma has entered the race for the ANC’s top job.
The ANC Women’s League (ANCWL), Umkhonto weSizwe Military Veterans’ Association and the so-called Premier League – made up of the North West, Mpumalanga and Free State premiers – are seemingly lobbying for Dlamini-Zuma.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, who has announced he is available to lead the ANC, was the right man for the job, Soke said.
“We believe he will deal with the current challenges we are experiencing in the movement and government,” Soke said.
“People have lost confidence in the ANC because of the dark cloud surrounding the president. We need somebody who will bring confidence and hope.”
Last year Cosatu officially endorsed Ramaphosa to take over from Zuma.
Soke also slammed Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini, accusing her of being “arrogant”. He claimed Dlamini was undermining Nehawu.
“There is an element of undermining the union in that department,” Soke said. “Since she became the minister she has never had a meeting with the union.
“We have been trying to meet her for a discussion.”
Soke said Dlamini, who is also the ANCWL president, chooses not to speak about workers’ issues.
“She forgets that we are the stakeholders and she has an obligation to meet us. She cannot avoid us forever. We are going to force her to talk to us.”
Nehawu is set to march to the national social development department in Pretoria and provincial offices in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal tomorrow and hand over memorandums.
This follows the collapse of negotiations on matters of “mutual interest” in the public health and social development sectoral bargaining council.
Soke said because of Dlamini’s refusal to engage the public sector union, they were left with no choice but to take to the streets in protest.
“The marches must be regarded as a first warning shot to the department,” he said.
“The union confirms that a full blown-strike is imminent, should they fail to meet our demands within five days.”
The demands include the review of entry levels for social service professionals and occupations.