Johannesburg - The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) says it will formally go out and publicly campaign for Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Jacob Zuma when he steps down as ANC leader in December.
Ramaphosa is a former leader of the mineworkers’ union.
NUM also warned against political leaders taking workers for granted, saying the embarrassing events of May Day where Zuma was booed, heckled and prevented from addressing the main rally in Bloemfontein could have been avoided.
NUM deputy president Joseph Montisetse, opening the NUM’s education and training summit in Midrand, Joburg, on Wednesday, said the power of workers should not be “undermined”.
Zuma attended the rally despite the disapproval of Cosatu’s largest unions including Nehawu, Samwu, Sadtu and CWU. Cosatu had called on Zuma to step down, saying it had lost confidence in his leadership of the country and the alliance movement.
Montisetse said workers were a solid constituency that had campaigned hard for Zuma to ascend to the presidency in 2007.
He hailed Ramaphosa, who Cosatu has endorsed to succeed Zuma, as one of the country’s “illuminated” leaders.
“Ramaphosa will become the president of the country whether someone likes it or not... Comrade Cyril, we as NUM and Cosatu, we are now going out to campaign for this president (Ramaphosa) of ours to become president,” Montisetse said.
He said Cosatu’s central executive committee decision that Zuma should step down was a collective decision.
“It’s not a decision of a faction. Cosatu is a collective organisation that takes decision in mutual understanding. The prevailing political circumstances demand that Zuma excuse himself,” he added.
However, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL) has reportedly vowed to destabilise Ramaphosa’s campaign to become president after Zuma was booed in Mangaung.
ANCYL president Collen Maine was quoted as saying: “We are going to boo Ramaphosa back and it won’t be nice. We are going to make life difficult for him. We are going to boo him in an ANC meeting before we boo him at a rally."