Cosatu questions Zuma's 'deputy succession' views

2017-01-13 18:38

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Johannesburg - Cosatu has described as “curious” President Jacob Zuma’s statement that there is no ANC policy or tradition that its deputy president must succeed the president.

“While we agree with him that there is no existing policy on succession, we find it curious that he argues against the existence of a practice [in use] since the ANC's unbanning in 1990,” the trade union federation said in a statement on Friday.

Zuma should have said as much at the ANC’s elective conference in Polokwane in 2007, when Cosatu successfully lobbied for him to replace Thabo Mbeki on the same grounds.

“Cosatu would have deeply appreciated it, if the president of the ANC had shared this understanding and wisdom with the nation 10 years ago, in 2007.”

At the time, ANC supporters had backed Zuma based on the belief that it was customary for deputies to succeed the party’s presidents.  

“We find it insincere that he never spoke out then and he never saw anything wrong with that argument at the time.”

Zuma told three SABC radio stations on Thursday night that there was no such tradition. His comments were widely viewed as support for outgoing African Union commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The ANC Women's League has endorsed her to take over as party leader from her ex-husband.

“Anyone who is nominated can contest. There is no policy. It’s not true that it’s a tradition,” Zuma said.

Cosatu rejected Zuma’s argument.

“It is very dangerous for leaders to play cute with the traditions and principles that have united and served the movement and stood the test of time, for short-term gains and narrow political interest.”

Cosatu, which has no voting rights within the ANC, but has influence, appears to be going for broke as the ANC succession battle intensifies ahead of its elective conference in December.

It had refused to let the ANC censure it for openly backing deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa before the party opened its nomination process.

Cosatu warned the party's leadership against making inconsistent arguments meant to malign opponents.

“The ANC‘s political neck is in the hangman’s noose because of this myopia by those entrusted with leading. Unless the movement abandons this unsettling tendency of treating disagreements as warfare, we can forget about achieving the much-needed unity and the 2019 elections,” Cosatu said.

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

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