Cosatu wants President Jacob Zuma to step down following his shock Cabinet reshuffle that led to South Africa being downgraded to junk status.
The congress has also fired a warning shot to the ANC to think deeply about effecting Zuma’s removal through internal mechanisms, in order to save the party.
Cosatu leaders furiously outlined just how Zuma had become a liability and worsened divisions with his Cabinet reshuffle because he failed to constructively consult with the alliance.
They have also rejected Zuma’s argument of a prerogative right to appoint and fire ministers, saying he was like any other ANC deployee.
“Cosatu no longer believes that the president is the right person to unite the ANC and lead the movement, the alliance and the country,” said the congress’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.
His comments followed a one-day special central executive committee meeting in which affiliates voiced unhappiness.
“We think that after all his undeniable contribution to both the movement and the government, the time has arrived for him to step down and allow the country to be led forward by a new collective at a government level.”
This came days after another key ANC ally, the South African Communist Party, made the same call and indicated it would embark on mass mobilisation to force Zuma out, should he refuse to go.
Ntshalintshali threw Zuma’s prerogative out of the window, charging alliance members should have a say because they campaigned as a team during elections and that voters had given a mandate to the organisation and not Zuma as an individual.
“We no longer believe in his leadership abilities and we shall be communicating that decision to our ally, the ANC,” said Ntshalinsthali.
He added that they would also demand from both the ANC and Zuma, an explanation on why they were not consulted as an alliance partner.
Ntshalintshali said the ANC top six, which has voiced its frustration with how Zuma went about making changes to the executive, would hopefully have renewed appreciation of the concept of a meaningful consultation “now that they have experienced it themselves”.
He denounced the re-emergence of the “past undemocratic practices”, which were previously used in the run up to Polokwane conference, in particular the use of state institution and failure to consult ANC members and alliance partners.
At the time Cosatu fought in Zuma’s corner to topple former president Thabo Mbeki.
But things have made a complete turn as Cosatu leaders have grown even more critical in recent months as Zuma limped from one scandal after another, including Nkandla and the alleged undue influence exerted on him by the prominent Gupta family.
Cosatu plans to communicate its decision for Zuma to resign to its members and will be talking to alliance partners, religious and civil society on the way forward.