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Premature talk on leadership succession in the ANC should be discouraged, Cosatu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.
“The central executive committee has reaffirmed its mandate... on the need to refuse to engage in succession debates, which distracts us from... taking forward our transformation mandate,” Vavi told reporters in Joburg.
“We shall encourage our members to assess the leadership of the alliance formations at the right time.”
He said Cosatu would continue to defend the ANC’s leadership, as elected in Polokwane, “against the new tendency” which was attempting to destabilise it.
The SABC reported at the weekend that the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) had called for a change of leadership within the ruling party.
Numsa deputy secretary general Karl Cloete was quoted as saying that the current ANC leadership should be replaced post-2012 because it failed to implement resolutions taken at the last ANC elective conference in 2007.
Numsa became the first organised formation to call for President Jacob Zuma and the rest of the ANC leadership to be replaced at the party's elective conference to be held in Bloemfontein in December.
On Monday, ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe rebuffed the union for its comments.
Mantashe said Numsa was exaggerating its role and questioned whether it had enough members in ANC branches to influence December's elective conference.
“I think we need to make an appeal to everybody to never make that dangerous assumption that it's them who exist, and the ANC is at the mercy of everybody else,” Mantashe said.
“It doesn't work that way. There is no delegation in the contract of the ANC called a Numsa delegation. There is no such a delegation at the ANC elective conference.”
He warned that waiting in the wings to topple the ANC was a “tendency” that was “politically dangerous”.
In a statement on Tuesday, Numsa said it was “crystal clear” only ANC branches could democratically decide on leadership in party structures. – Sapa