ANC deputy must succeed Zuma, say some Cosatu affiliates

2015-11-25 08:56
Cyril Ramaphosa (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

Cyril Ramaphosa (Felix Dlangamandla, Beeld)

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President Jacob Zuma will be succeeded by his deputy Cyril Ramaphosa if some Cosatu affiliates have their way.

A proposal by teachers' union Sadtu, the third-biggest affiliate in Cosatu, that the ANC deputy president was the natural successor was applauded by the majority of the 2500 delegates attending the Cosatu national congress in Midrand yesterday.

Nursing union Denosa endorsed the proposal. So did public sector union Nehawu, transport union Satawu and hospitality union Fawu. Sadtu said the "principle" must be observed for the sake of stability and to eliminate the paralysis within the alliance fuelled by who would succeed President Jacob Zuma.

In moving the motion, Sadtu deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi, who did not mention Ramaphosa by name, said the ANC must uphold the principle of its deputy president ascending to the helm of the party and ultimately be president of the country.

This happened as delegates were discussing the federation's political report.

Dolopi said Cosatu should take the position it did in 2005 – when it first came out in support of Zuma who who was then deputy president.

"It cannot be that each time the ANC goes to a national elective conference it suffers from instability, which affects the country alliance and the country as a whole. What we said in 2005 we must say now if we want stability in the ANC," he said.

Dolopi said the need for stability, adding that the “pre-conference fever” must come to an end. He said the principle was always followed in the ANC from the time of former presidents Albert Luthuli and Oliver Tambo.

A Satawu delegate said it would help the ANC to understand the principle instead of being ignorant about it.

"It's the ANC ignorance of that principle which causes paralyses in the movement.  That principle will assist resolve the paralysis in the movement because now we  have factions .... If the ANC sticks to the principle there will be no debate".

While Sactwu agreed with the position, it cautioned that a matter was too sensitive and should rather be dealt with behind closed doors at a central executive committee meeting - the highest decision-making body between congress.

The proposal had yet to be “tested in a debate” before it became a congress decision with an announcement expected tomorrow when the congress came to an end.

The ANC women's leagues had earlier this year endorsed the lobby for AU chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to succeed Zuma. A push for Ramaphosa sets up a contest for the ANC succession race in 2017.

The race to succeed Zuma was at the centre of tension between the ANC and its alliance partners.

Cosatu president S'dumo Dlamini told City Press last week that the onslaught against the SACP and Cosatu, and the early contests by those positioning themselves to succeed  Zuma, were shifting the focus from the real issue – which was garnering support for the ANC as it headed into elections.

Dlamini said the tensions "would spell disaster for the ANC and the alliance and will weaken us further".

Although Cosatu was widely expected to declare support for Ramaphosa, Dlamini last week denied this, saying Cosatu would not publicly pronounce on whom it supported for the sake of unity.

Another delegate from Fawu said the issue of the deputy succeeding the president was "not a matter of principle but a matter of tradition".

"There is a difference between principle and tradition," said the delegate.

The National Union of Mineworkers did not come out clear on its position on who should succeed Zuma except to emphasise that "ANC traditions must be respected".

A delegate from Popcru said Cosatu "cannot help the ANC eat itself from inside".

"We are not going to be married on a very narrow tradition that informs succession in the ANC as the only thing to consider," said the delegate.

However, Sadtu insisted that the succession issues was a matter of principle and not tradition. The congress continues today.

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