Cosatu could back Ramaphosa to unify ANC

2016-09-18 08:24

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Cosatu is putting together a list of at least six names of senior ANC leaders that would be capable of leading the party into the 2019 elections.

But Cosatu boss Sdumo Dlamini insists the federation’s focus at its special central executive committee meeting tomorrow to discuss this “delicate issue” would not be on an individual leader, but on a collective leadership.

A number of Cosatu affiliates have punted Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma.

The chosen leadership, Dlamini said, was one that had to have the capacity to unite the tripartite alliance and whose policy inclinations were to the benefit of the working class and the poor.

Those were the principles adopted by Cosatu in 2005 in deciding on names of leaders. At tomorrow’s meeting, Cosatu will have to decide whether it will stick to the same principles or abandon them going into 2017.

However, Dlamini – known to be a close Zuma ally – raised concerns that backing a particular name at this point was tantamount to backing a particular faction.

“The alliance must work towards lifting the process out of factions,” he told City Press in an interview this week.

This meant striking compromises to ensure the 2017 conference is not contested for the sake of the unity of the ANC.

Two factions currently exist in the ANC. One, led by the so-called premier league, supports Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and the other is strongly lobbying for Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa’s name dominated Cosatu’s congress last year as affiliates believed it was tradition for a deputy to succeed a president, and that he would help to unify affiliates. The SA Democratic Teachers’ Union and the National Union of Mineworkers have both resolved to support Ramaphosa. It is understood the National Health and Allied Workers’ Union and the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, in almost all provinces, share this view.

Members of the SA Communist Party used the party’s last congress to lobby for Ramaphosa, despite their discomfort that he is a capitalist. Its leaders had increasingly been unhappy with Zuma’s leadership and it’s understood he has been informed of this.

Meanwhile, Dlamini said the issue of succession formed part of a chapter of a document to be presented at the central executive committee meeting, which charted a way forward on the federation’s approach for the next 10 years.

“We will discuss Cosatu’s position. We are aware that other unions are speaking out and they have a right to. But Cosatu should now take a position,” he told City Press in an interview this week.

Despite this, Dlamini said Cosatu could not be gagged, but would need to tread carefully.

Ideally, Cosatu as an interested party should convey its view on succession internally with the ANC and not publicly, to avoid division.

Dlamini is worried about how succession discussions could further divide the federation, as was the case when it came out to publicly back Zuma.

“Everybody wants to hear what Cosatu has to say about Ramaphosa. We really don’t want to behave as if we don’t care what the impact of a Cosatu pronouncement on ANC processes will be,” he said.

“Yes, I do worry that currently, a succession debate is inherent with divisions, not only with the ANC, but with almost all alliance formations.

“You can’t be reckless when handling that discussion.”

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Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  jacob zuma  |  sdumo dlamini

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