Zuma oust­ing ‘do or die’

This is a bat­tle that is bound to have ca­su­al­ties, says S’dumo

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - LUYOLO MKENTANE @luy­olomken­tane

PRES­SURE from Cosatu af­fil­i­ates and at­tempts to un­seat him have forced the fed­er­a­tion’s pres­i­dent S’dumo Dlamini to come out and say he wants Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma to step down.

Dlamini, a known Zuma ally, apol­o­gised for the third time for at­tend­ing Zuma’s 75th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions in Soweto and warned that the bat­tle to re­move the pres­i­dent was a “do or die” af­fair.

The party, re­garded as a fac­tional gath­er­ing of Zuma’s sup­port­ers, was hastily or­gan­ised to counter the march by thou­sands of South Africans led by op­po­si­tion par­ties and civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions to the Union Build­ings to de­mand that the pres­i­dent quit.

It was boy­cotted by many ANC na­tional ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers, SACP cen­tral com­mit­tee mem­bers and Cosatu cen­tral ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers.

Dlamini came un­der fire for at­tend­ing the party, with Cosatu’s big­gest union, the Na­tional Ed­u­ca­tion, Health and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Ne­hawu), also push­ing for his re­moval.

At the cel­e­bra­tions in Klip­town, Soweto, Dlamini said the work­ers wished Zuma the best.

“We wish that in these hard‚ try­ing times‚ as a fa­ther‚ hus­band and leader, you re­main strong,” he said.

“As you are my leader‚ and we tackle these is­sues‚ I need you to be strong,” he added.

Dlamini got into hot wa­ter for his com­ments, with unions ar­gu­ing that he was un­der­min­ing the fed­er­a­tion’s de­ci­sion that Zuma should step down.

Last Mon­day, Dlamini pre­empted his foes in Cosatu by apol­o­gis­ing for at­tend­ing the event. When open­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s cen­tral com­mit­tee (CC) meet­ing on Mon­day, Dlamini once again apol­o­gised.

Yes­ter­day, Dlamini, when clos­ing the CC meet­ing, said he was join­ing ef­forts to oust Zuma.

Dlamini said the cam­paign against the pres­i­dent was a bat­tle that “is bound to have ca­su­al­ties”, adding that his fam­ily had al­ready been threat­ened af­ter a de­cap­i­tated and dis­em­bow­elled cat was found out­side their home in KwaZu­luNatal fol­low­ing Cosatu’s de­ci­sion in Novem­ber for Zuma to step down.

“This is a bat­tle, and in any bat­tle there are bound to be ca­su­al­ties in whatever form… And be pre­pared that you will live or die.”

Dlamini said his re­la­tion­ship with Zuma did not go be­yond their “or­gan­i­sa­tional re­la­tion­ship”.

He told the del­e­gates that he wanted to meet them at ANC branch meet­ings where they would be per­suad­ing party mem­bers to sup­port Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa to re­place Zuma in De­cem­ber.

On the first day of the CC, Dlamini was made to an­nounce that Ramaphosa, Cosatu’s choice in the ANC suc­ces­sion bat­tle, would ad­dress the work­ers.

“You should not take us into a bat­tle if you are not very sure, but I have a sense you are sure of the bat­tle, so I’m in.”

Dlamini re­it­er­ated his apol­ogy, say­ing de­ci­sions taken by struc­tures “bind every­one, in­clud­ing those who may have been hold­ing a dif­fer­ent view”.

Cosatu sec­ond deputy pres­i­dent Zingiswa Losi, an­other Zuma ally in Cosatu, jumped onto the band­wagon, say­ing Zuma had to go.

“We will con­tinue mak­ing the call for Pres­i­dent Zuma to step

ANC, make the right de­ci­sion, re­call your pres­i­dent and let an­other leader take over

down be­cause we un­der­stand the con­se­quences of con­stantly hav­ing him at the helm of the state and the ANC.”

She said the civil so­ci­ety or­gan­i­sa­tions that had been call­ing for Zuma to step down should not be dis­missed, as they were vot­ers.

“They said ‘ANC, make the right de­ci­sion, re­call your pres­i­dent and let an­other leader in the ANC take over’. That’s the call we are re­ally go­ing to make,” she said fol­low­ing Cosatu’s four-day CC meet­ing at St Ge­orge’s Ho­tel in Irene.

Cosatu gen­eral sec­re­tary Bheki Nt­shal­intshali said: “We are not go­ing to rest on this is­sue. Ev­ery­where we get a plat­form we are go­ing to say this is the leader (Ramaphosa) who should take the reins when Pres­i­dent Zuma leaves.”

Both Losi and Dlamini were cen­tral to the ex­pul­sion of for­mer Cosatu gen­eral sec­re­tary Zwelinz­ima Vavi and the met­al­work­ers union Numsa. Both were ac­cused of be­ing hos­tile to Zuma.

The pair’s about-turn also sig­ni­fied that Zuma has lost al­most all con­trol of Cosatu af­fil­i­ates.

But some of Zuma’s sup­port­ers have warned that Cosatu risked its demise for in­volv­ing it­self in the ANC’s in­ter­nal bat­tles.

Umkhonto weSizwe Mil­i­tary Veter­ans As­so­ci­a­tion chair­per­son Kebby Maphat­soe, a staunch Zuma sup­porter, said Cosatu’s bid for the pres­i­dent to step down was un­for­tu­nate and would be the death of Cosatu. “We don’t sup­port their state­ment. We’ll con­tinue supporting Zuma. They’re agree­ing with the op­po­si­tion, and that’s wrong.

“Let’s not take de­ci­sions when emo­tions are very high. Cosatu are for­get­ting about the plight of the work­ing class and con­cen­trat­ing on Pres­i­dent Zuma. That is go­ing to col­lapse Cosatu, be­cause other fed­er­a­tions are con­cen­trat­ing on the plight of the poor,” he said.

The de­fence and mil­i­tary veter­ans deputy min­is­ter called on Cosatu to re­con­sider its de­ci­sion. “Let them sit down with the ANC and dis­cuss (this). We don’t in­ter­fere in their agen­das; they are try­ing to kill the al­liance. They should rather fo­cus on build­ing Cosatu.”

Zuma re­cently called on Cosatu and the SACP, which want him to re­sign, to stay out of the ANC’s in­ter­nal af­fairs.

NO LONGER AL­LIES: Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma and Cosatu pres­i­dent S’dumo Dlamini.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.