President Cyril Ramaphosa told Cosatu 13th national congress that government had no plans to retrench 30 000 civil servants. File picture: Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday told the Congress of South African Trade Unions' (Cosatu) 13th national congress that government had no plans to retrench 30 000 civil servants.

Ramaphosa was speaking at the opening of the congress, where he dismissed unfounded reports that government intended to let go thousands of workers. 

He said there were still some difficult conversations which needed to be had, so that when the job summit takes place, it has a meaningful impact on society.

"We are required to come up with cutting-edge proposals on how to create jobs, that is his request to Cosatu -- "give us clear proposals" -- if there was ever a time for Cosatu to come up with clear proposals, the hour has arrived," Ramaphosa said.

He also urged Cosatu delegates to find ways of safe-guarding jobs as the new era of artificial intelligence under the imminent 4th industrial revolution increasingly sees machines replacing workers.

Ramaphosa also took an indirect swipe at African National Congress party leaders accused of being involved in a plot to unseat him. He said these actions weaken the ANC.

"We should not spend time on counter-revolutionary machinations of weakening the ANC. If there is gonna be any plot, it must be a plot on end poverty," he said.

ANC secretary general Ace Magashule, along with former president Jacob Zuma and former North West premier and ANC chairperson Supra Mahumapelo, has been accused of holding a secret meeting in Durban two weeks ago to discuss an alleged plot to unseat Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa encouraged the alliance to unite for the 2019 elections and said the alliance cannot fight amongst themselves.

“We cannot go to those elections divided. If there are any moves to divide the membership of the ANC that is counter-revolutionary," he added.

It is expected that Cosatu will also discuss its support of the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP) ahead of next year’s elections at the conference.

New Cosatu national office bearers will be elected, with current deputy Zingiswa Losi touted to be the favourite to replace president S'dumo Dlamini.

Members will also debate the federation's political, socio-economic, organisational and financial reports and resolutions.

African News Agency (ANA)