Zuma ousting ‘do or die’
This is a battle that is bound to have casualties, says S’dumo
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.