Zuma: Succession debate hasty

2009-09-21 22:10

Midrand - President Jacob Zuma on Monday criticised attempts to open the 2012 succession debate as "ill-conceived and premature".

Speaking at the Congress of SA Trade Unions' 10th National Congress, Zuma said the ANC's top brass decided on Friday to develop a code of conduct for lobbying ahead of the electoral conference in 2012.

"We cannot deviate and divert our minds from delivery and think about who will be what in 2012, that's opportunistic," Zuma told delegates in Midrand.

He said it was "high time" to have a code of conduct to guide the process of electing leadership.

"The promotion of a succession debate so prematurely is a mischievous diversion and it must be avoided at all costs," he said.

This was after the ANC Youth League as well as some alliance partners commented on the 2012 ANC leadership contest.

Zuma defends planning ministry

Zuma defended government policy, including the creation of the much-maligned planning ministry under Trevor Manuel.

Delegates agreed at an alliance summit in October 2008 that there was a need for a high-level planning and monitoring capacity in government.

Zuma said it was in line with this that he set up a planning commission in the presidency that would have "the power to align the work of all government departments and organs of state to government's developmental agenda".

He said the ANC would now comment on the green papers produced by Manuel and Collins Chabane, the minister in the presidency for performance monitoring and evaluation, and Cosatu would be allowed to do the same.

De-unionising SANDF

He also referred to the recent strike by members of the SA National Defence Force, saying the ruling party's highest decision-making body had decided to de-unionise the military.

"We strongly believe that this is a matter of national security," he said.

Cosatu had come out in support of union representation for the SANDF. Earlier on Monday, Cosatu president Sidumo Dlamini called on government to rethink its decision to de-unionise.

Zuma said the ruling party leadership supported the establishment of a military services commission.

It was critical that the conditions of the soldiers improved and that they should belong to an association which would help them to solve problems.

However, it was problematic when soldiers belonged to a union with the right to strike.

Delegates at the congress also expressed different views on de-unionising the military.

Bringing the country to a standstill

Dlamini warned government on labour brokering, saying Cosatu would bring the country to a standstill if they were not banned.

Zuma was tight-lipped on this issue in his address.

"We want to see equal commitment by government to ban labour brokers and not to regulate them," he said.

"If this does not happen, Cosatu will indeed bring the country to a standstill on this matter."

Labour brokering and contract work was on the minds of many Cosatu delegates at the congress.

A delegation from the Eastern Cape said they expected work to be done on ensuring that labour brokering and contract work was banned by the government.