PRETORIA — Cosatu boss Zwelinzima Vavi has warned the ANC against sidelining Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe after the Mangaung conference next month, or face the prospect of yet another breakaway party.
Report by IOLNEWS
He said marginalising Motlanthe, who is expected to challenge Jacob Zuma for the position of ANC president, would further divide the party and have long-term implications.
Vavi was addressing the media during a media conference at Cosatu House in Braamfontein on Wednesday.
He said the ruling party’s 53rd elective conference was about the unity of the ANC and the second phase of radical transformation to ensure serious economic empowerment of the people.
His warning came a few days after the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) formally snubbed Motlanthe for any of the party’s leadership positions, including the top six positions and the 80-member national executive committee (NEC).
The NEC is the party’s highest decision-making structure between conferences. The ANCWL nominated Zuma for a second term and backed businessman Cyril Ramaphosa as his deputy. Vavi’s appeal could be interpreted as a ploy to secure Motlanthe’s future if he fails in his bid to dislodge Zuma. The Cosatu general-secretary is seen as the face of anti-Zuma unionists in the federation.
The other pro-Zuma faction is led by Cosatu president S’dumo Dlamini, who is close to the ANC leader. Vavi said although Cosatu had no mandate to interfere in the ANC succession debate and processes, it had a right to influence the outcome.
“Such attempts to remove the DP (Motlanthe) will have long-term implications for unity in the ANC beyond the Mangaung conference.”
Speaking to The Star later, Vavi stressed that sidelining Motlanthe would undermine party unity the same way the ANC was seriously divided after its 2007 conference in Polokwane.
Zuma had deposed Thabo Mbeki in a bruising battle and took over the ANC.