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Johannesburg - ANC president Jacob Zuma must lead the ruling party during the 2014 national elections, according to Cosatu insiders who attended the federation’s two-day central executive committee [CEC] meeting.
Insiders told The Star that the agreement was brokered after its affiliate unions were deeply divided over whether they should back Zuma or Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe for the ANC presidency during its Mangaung elective conference in December.
One of the sources said the CEC had unanimously agreed to retain the top six of the ANC in a similar manner in which Cosatu retained its top leadership during its national congress last month.
“We agreed that Jacob Zuma must retain the ANC presidency in Mangaung. We also agreed that Zuma’s leadership must go beyond Mangaung and he must be the face of the ANC during the 2014 national elections,” the source said.
He said Cosatu’s political commission was tasked with the duty to lobby the various factions within the ANC to retain its top six.
According to the sources, the political commission was ordered to persuade Motlanthe not to challenge Zuma.
Cosatu spokesman Patrick Craven confirmed the view of The Star’s sources, saying: “Cosatu’s intervention does not seek to endorse any slate politics or divide the ANC.
“On the contrary, we seek to achieve a more united ANC where a bitter leadership contest must be avoided, so that we create more space for policy debate to shape the content of the second phase of the transition for a radical transformation of our economy.”
Craven said the trade union federation wanted to ensure that the “ANC does not get taken over by the new class of tenderpreneurs”.
“We shall advance a position of both continuity and change in the Polokwane collective. We will endorse those we have identified as the core of the Polokwane collective – Zuma, Motlanthe and Gwede Mantashe.
“In our assessment, the other comrades, treasurer-general Mathews Phosa and deputy secretary-general Thandi Modise, have not assisted us in taking forward the Polokwane resolutions.
“We will engage with the ANC leadership and the rest of the ANC to ensure that this nucleus is retained and that it should not contest each other,” Craven said.
He said Cosatu’s nomination of the ANC’s top three did not suggest that their leadership was perfect, with no weaknesses either collectively or individually.