Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa has used the first day of Cosatu’s national congres to take aim at those in an alleged plot to oust him.

This comes after allegations that key ANC leaders, including secretary general Ace Magashule, ANC Women’s League secretary general Meokgo Matuba and former North West chairperson and premier Supra Mahumapelo were part of a group that held a clandestine meeting with former president Jacob Zuma in a bid to plan to remove Ramaphosa.

All those fingered in the allegations had backed Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma as their preferred successor to Zuma before the ANC’s 54th national conference last year.

Ramaphosa said those behind the allegations were betraying the resolutions of the ANC’s national conference, which gave a mandate of renewal and unity within the party, which was deeply divided ahead of the conference.

“You have to ask yourself - those who want to divide the ANC - what agenda are they serving? What mandate are they serving, because coming out of Nasrec, we only know one agenda and that is the agenda of unity and renewal and jobs and transforming our economy?

“Now these other ones, if they are working to divide the ANC, tell us what your agenda is,” Ramaphosa said, to applause by Cosatu delegates.

While Magashule confirmed the meeting, he denied that it was aimed at planning to oust Ramaphosa.

Cosatu is holding its four-day 13th national congress in Midrand, Johannesburg.

Speaking in the presence of Magashule, who sat stony-faced in the front row of the plenary, Ramaphosa said those fingered in the plot to remove him were “counter-revolutionaries” desperate to divide the membership of the governing party.

“If there is going to be a plot, it must be a plot to defeat poverty. That must be the plot that we want... Those who will get to actions that will disunite our people, divide our people, must be exposed,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa said the ANC would arrive at next year’s much-anticipated general elections limping if the divisions were not arrested.

“Next year we are going to be facing one of the most challenging elections. Now we cannot be going to those elections divided... Just imagine we are going to war and then we start fighting among ourselves... what type of an army are we?” Ramaphosa asked.

Ramaphosa said the fight against state capture would be intensified under his leadership.

“As a nation we need to be clear about accountability and consequence management. Those who are found to have stolen the public resources of our country that were meant for the poor, must be prosecuted and the stolen funds must be returned. That should happen without any equivocation,” he said.

Outgoing president S'dumo Dlamini used his welcoming address to dispell claims that he was an ally of Zuma.

“As the president of Cosatu, you have a direct working relationship with the president of the ANC, and this has nothing to do with friendship. I’m sure the new president of Cosatu will have a direct working relationship with the current president of the ANC,” Dlamini said.

Cosatu second deputy president Zingiswa Losi is set to succeed Dlamini at the congress.