Johannesburg - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has denied having endorsed President Cyril Ramaphosa for a second term at the helm of the ANC.
The federation said it is not backing any particular candidate in the race for president of the African National Congress (ANC), including Cyril Ramaphosa or any other candidate for the ANC's top six ahead of the ANC’s 55th National Conference in Nasrec next weekend.
The elective conference, which will pit Ramaphosa against Dr Zweli Mkhize for ANC president, will begin on Friday, December 16 and run through Tuesday, December 20.
The conference comes just as the ANC NEC met this week to discuss the Section 89 independent panel report, which found that Ramaphosa may have violated his oath of office and the constitution in the Phala Phala farm matter. However, the ANC compelled its members to vote against the adoption of this report in parliament on Tuesday.
Members of parliament are expected to vote in the National Assembly on whether to reject or adopt the report compiled by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, judge Thokozile Masipa, and advocate Mahlape Sello.
The report has come under fire from those who support Ramaphosa for a second term and who say the report is flawed. Ramaphosa himself has taken the report to the Constitutional Court for review.
Cosatu has denied media reports claiming that it endorsed Ramaphosa for a second term. The trade union federation said it had not yet given anyone its stamp of approval.
"The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted the media reports claiming that the federation has pronounced on its preferred candidates for leadership in the upcoming 55th National Conference. This is not accurate, and the federation would like to correct any misunderstanding," Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said on Wednesday.
Following a recent 14th National Congress and Central Committee meeting, Pamla said Cosatu didn’t discuss issues around leadership and the ANC’s upcoming elective conference.
"This means that Cosatu has not formally endorsed any candidate, including President Cyril Ramaphosa. The federation has consciously decided to remain neutral on issues of leadership and focus on conference policy outcomes and organisational resolutions. Cosatu, therefore, will not be campaigning for any candidate but will support those elected by the conference," Pamla said.