South Africa 4.4.2017 12:03 pm

Cosatu joins calls for Zuma to step down

Cosatu General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali (centre) speaks at a press conference, 20 September 2016, at Cosatu House in Braamfontein, following the special CEC, while president Sdumo Dlamini looks on (right). The special CEC resolved to mobilise all workers to mark the international day of decent work on October 7. Picture: Michel Bega

Cosatu General Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali (centre) speaks at a press conference, 20 September 2016, at Cosatu House in Braamfontein, following the special CEC, while president Sdumo Dlamini looks on (right). The special CEC resolved to mobilise all workers to mark the international day of decent work on October 7. Picture: Michel Bega

The trade union federation says Zuma’s changes to his executive team were not based on merit but on political loyalty.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) on Tuesday called for President Jacob Zuma to step down from office, saying it no longer believed he was the right person to unite and lead the tripartite alliance movement.

This was done despite Zuma making a call to Cosatu leaders on Tuesday morning asking for a meeting.

“The first inclination to the question is; I wish this call would’ve come last week Thursday (30 March), then it would’ve saved the federation this situation that we’re now in,” Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini told EWN.

Though the trade union organisation hasn’t responded on meeting Zuma, they will discuss it, Dlamini added.

Addressing the media in Johannesburg following a special meeting of its central executive committee (CEC), the trade union federation’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said for the first time under Zuma’s leadership they were not consulted on the Cabinet reshuffle.

Ntshalintshali said Zuma’s changes to his executive team were not based on merit but on political loyalty because he failed to deal with some of the most incompetent ministers in his Cabinet.

He also said Cosatu was still committed to the alliance and they would not support the Democratic Alliance’s (DA) marches against the president, unless the DA protested against Western Cape Premier Helen Zille’s colonialism tweets.

On Monday, S&P Global lowered South Africa’s long-term foreign currency sovereign credit rating to junk status, Cosatu expressed its disapproval of the credit rating agency’s decision, saying it was worried this would affect the country’s inflation, particularly an increase in borrowing costs.

Ntshalintshali said Cosatu was “unapologetically supportive of the efforts to transform National Treasury and the reserve bank”, adding they were “angry that in our country, we have more than nine million people unemployed”.

He said there was “no finance minister who has been a friend of the workers”, including axed National Treasury chief Pravin Gordhan.

On Friday, the SACP released an official statement confirming they no longer supported Zuma as well.

Read the statement from the CEC below:

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