Cosatu shoots down attempt to open ANC succession debate

2012-09-20 13:51

The leadership of Cosatu has shot down an attempt by some unions to open the ANC succession debate, choosing instead to have the discussion behind closed doors after the congress.

The National Union of Metalworkers (Numsa) wanted the debate opened before ANC branches meet to nominate leaders ahead of the governing party’s elective conference in Mangaung in December.

The federation’s central executive committee took a decision to avoid the “mistake” it committed in 2007 of publicly announcing on who should lead the ANC.

Numsa president Cedric Gina suggested that the decision to review it at the next CEC meeting, which is understood to be scheduled for November 20, will be too late to influence ANC branches. His union has already assessed the performance of the current ANC leadership since 2007 under party president Jacob Zuma.

Satawu supported the proposal, arguing that the federation’s leadership should not decide on behalf of the congress how the ANC succession should be handled. Police union Popcru made a similar call.

“Our point is that a decision of this nature and magnitude should be taken in the congress,” said a Popcru delegate.

Earlier, some delegates had argued that it was not enough to talk about the “Lula moment” without talking about which ANC leaders were best suited to lead it.

However, Cosatu’s first deputy president, James Tyotyo, said the matter should be left to the CEC, which he said would convene a special meeting to discuss it.

“We will not wait for November,” he said.

The South African Clothing and Textile Union (Sactu) and the South African Democratic Teachers’ Union (Sadtu) have backed Tyotyo’s decision.

There has been speculation about whether or not President Jacob Zuma would be retained by the ANC, or whether his rivals would muster enough support to oust him. So far the party’s allies, the SA Communist Party (SACP) and Cosatu, have avoided bruising leadership contests by re-electing most of the current leaders.

Vavi suggested that the ANC should follow Cosatu’s example in Mangaung, which has been interpreted to mean that he wants to keep the status quo in the ANC.

» Read City Press on Sunday for more on the Cosatu congress.

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