Durban – The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) in KwaZulu-Natal has firmly placed its weight behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to replace President Jacob Zuma as ANC president. The announcement came on Wednesday during a press briefing on the outcomes of the provincial executive committee meeting held last week. Addressing the media, secretary Edwin Mkhize said the union federation and its KwaZulu-Natal constituency was firmly behind Ramaphosa. He said it was clear that Ramaphosa had support in the province, especially in recent months. "In the province, you have seen that there is some kind of acknowledgement of Cyril being there. There is some kind of acceptance of Cyril. Within some structures, even if not all, you have seen Cyril speak to different areas. He was in the South Coast just two days ago."'Almost everyone is on board'Mkhize said the province also backed the decision taken by the central executive committee (CEC) of Cosatu that called for Zuma to step down. "We say this matter must be addressed to the full expectation of Cosatu. It has come as a firm belief for us and it must happen."He said the decisions on Zuma and Ramaphosa had "not been taken haphazardly"."This has not been done without a thorough analysis. These came from the CEC. If they are to be challenged, it will be challenged within structures. But, from what we can tell you, almost everyone is on board."Ramaphosa number one contenderHe said that, while the provincial structures would always engage members on decisions taken, and continually discuss the succession matter, Ramaphosa remained Cosatu's number one contender for ANC president. "It is important as a province that we keep engaging and persuading one another to say, this is our view as Cosatu. There are firm acknowledgements that he [Ramaphosa] is here," Mkhize said."That matter is one subject for ongoing engagements. We are very much optimistic by what we already saw, that many structures acknowledge someone who can become a good president of the ANC," he added.#KZNCosatu aligns with national structures throwing it's weight behind Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa @News24 pic.twitter.com/GlAhySuGFQ— Kaveel Singh (@kaveels) August 23, 2017 Don't label people within the partyMkhize also called on members of the ANC to refrain from accusing its own members of voting with opposition parties. "Without tangible evidence, we have nothing. The tendency to label party members sympathising with the opposition is divisive and opportunistic. That plays into the factional battles taking place in the movement."He called on the ANC to condemn the behaviour."The ANC must condemn this. If you say someone voted with opposition, are you able to bring proof to take corrective or disciplinary measures? But you cannot thumb suck such things."He added that a programme to ensure Ramaphosa was visible in KwaZulu-Natal was currently being drawn up. "Cyril [Ramaphosa] should be visiting our branches so he interacts with our members. We are developing that programme. We will be having a programme, so the waiting president is visible."