"Cosatu is not ignorable to the fact that President Zuma has immensely contributed to the liberation of our people in this country – but we had to reach this position which I will say now," Dlamini said to loud cheers at the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) central executive committee (CEC) meeting in Pretoria.
"Cosatu said the time has arrived for him to step down and allow the country to be led or taken forward by a new collective at government level, and we no longer believe in his leadership abilities. This is what Cosatu is saying."
Dlamini said the non-consultation of African National Congress and alliance partners over the latest cabinet reshuffle by Zuma was nothing new.
"Firstly we needed to answer the question whether the cabinet reshuffle was transparent and in the best interests of both the ANC and the country. We also looked at whether the reshuffle helped the fight against corruption. The CEC [of Cosatu] also looked at whether the reshuffle was based on merit and if it assisted the fight for radical economic transformation. The answer to all these questions was negative," said Dlamini.
"For the first time, under the leadership of President Zuma, Cosatu was not consulted during this last cabinet reshuffle. But we are not crybabies. Whether other officials of [the] ANC were crying like us, we were saying [to them] welcome to the party because we had complained alone before. They were happy when we were saying we were never consulted when the e-tolls were decided on. We weren't consulted when the Employment Incentive Act was introduced," Dlamini bemoaned.
He told ANC secretary general, Gwede Mantashe, who was among the delegates that "we understand your frustration but we have been there before".
Dlamini said he would be part of the mass mobilisation for Ramaphosa to rise to the helm of the ANC ahead of the elective conference set for December.
"It has become an acceptable tradition that the deputy president in the ANC becomes the [next] president. Remember, we applied the same logic going into Polokwane [the ANC elective conference]. These are not small resolutions. You are saying to the ANC – before the end of term for the current national executive committee its president [Zuma] must resign. You are also saying, as Cosatu, come December the ANC should elect comrade Cyril Ramaphosa," he said.
"It is going to take active work, tireless work daring all odds on the way. Some will be left on the way. You have to be sure of your capacity to mount that campaign." The two-day NUM conference continues on Friday.