Bonolo Selebano, The New Age, Johannesburg, 25 November 2016
COSATU has endorsed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as its preferred candidate to lead the ANC at the party’s elective conference next year.
The trade union federation’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali yesterday said COSATU nailed its colours to the mast arguing that Ramaphosa was the right candidate to lead the ANC out of its “political gridlock”.
“With that in mind and after an intense and robust debate, the CEC resolved to support and lobby for the deputy president of the ANC, Cyril Ramaphosa, to take over the reins as the next president of the ANC,” Ntshalintshali said.
He said that although COSATU did not enjoy voting rights at the ANC’s elective conference, the federation would lobby the party’s structures to shoulder support for Zuma.
“In this regard, we shall work to lobby and influence the ANC structures to support Cyril Ramaphosa as the next leader of the movement.”
Ntshalintshali, however, said that COSATU would still support the ANC even if it failed to convince ANC structures of Ramaphosa’s candidacy.
“If the ANC elects somebody else, it’s going to be through the democratic process. Our support of the ANC is not conditional on Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said.
COSATU first deputy president Tyotyo James motivated why COSATU preferred the former National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) general secretary to rule the ANC after Zuma.
“He became the founding general secretary of NUM and it is due to his efforts at NUM that mineworkers were liberated from prison-like conditions. This Cyril Ramaphosa we are talking about is the one who was involved in the negotiations of the Constitution of this country,” he said.
COSATU second deputy president Zingiswa Losi said that COSATU was not worried about Ramaphosa’s former directorship of Lonmin mine, where 34 striking mineworkers were gunned down by police, coming back to haunt him for the rest of his career.
“At times it is the ANC itself with the opposition and those that don’t want the ANC to lead. It may be Cyril, it may be somebody else.
“Things will continue to be raised and we understand that the war is not against an individual but the ANC.”
Although NEHAWU and the CWU called for Zuma to leave office, COSATU did not share its affiliates’ views.