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#CosatuCongress: Ramaphosa endorsed as Zuma’s successor

Cosatu looks set to endorse the ANC’s tradition of the deputy president succeeding the president.

FILE: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa during a tour of the business exhibition at the ANC's National General Council in Midrand on 11 October 2015. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) Congress looks set to endorse the African National Congress (ANC)'s long-standing tradition of the deputy president succeeding the president after five unions called for it to be respected.

The ANC succession debate came up frequently during discussions on politics during Tuesday's plenary session, with the Food and Allied Workers Union (Fawu), the Democratic Nursing organisation of South Africa (Denosa), National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu), the South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) and the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) all inadvertently endorsing Cyril Ramaphosa.

The endorsement has come despite a plea by Cosatu's leadership not to prematurely open the debate.

Sadtu was the first to mention the ANC's succession debate through its deputy general-secretary Nkosana Dolopi.

"Deputy presidents of the ANC are prepared at some stage to become the leaders of the ANC."

Only an hour earlier, South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande appealed to delegates not to discuss the matter.

"That's dangerous and irresponsible."

The other four unions called for the ANC's tradition to be respected and assigned that Ramaphosa's bid for the ANC presidency could be supported by Cosatu.

WATCH: Day two of the Cosatu national congress started without any of the problems that beset day one. SACP leader Blade Nzimande addressed delegates and urged them to close ranks and unify the federation.

ANC SLAMMED

Nehawu, which is the Cosatu's largest affiliate, says the ANC has failed to play its role as the centre of power in the Tripartite Alliance.

Nehawu has more than 270,000 members and says the alliance is being used to wage power battles.

Shingange told the Congress that Cosatu unions are not benefitting from the ANC controlling all the power in the country.

"It does look like the ANC alone has failed as a strategic centre of power. We think it's time to bring back the debate about the alliance as the strategic centre of political power so that we can direct what it is that must be implemented in the state."

He says the alliance structures should be allowed to help make important decisions.

"We must be part of the development of the manifesto as the alliance and the selection of the candidate must be that they are worthy of the votes of the workers."

Nehawu's sentiments were echoed by unions such as Satawu and Fawu, who say the structure of the alliance needs to be revisited.