Cosatu waiting for clear mandate on who to back at ANC national conference

JOHANNESBURG – With Cosatu’s upcoming 14th congress next week, the African National Congress (ANC) alliance partner says members are yet to give a clear mandate of who the trade union federation should back at the ruling party’s December national conference.

In 2017, it already pronounced Cyril Ramaphosa as its pick to take the ANC forward, however, outgoing general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali in an interview with Eyewitness News says it’s a little difficult this time around.

He says the federation will not move ahead of its members on the issue.

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Ntshalintshali says the congress, taking place in Midrand from Monday, is also likely to discuss stalled attempts to reconfigure the alliance.

As nominations take place in the ANC, Cosatu’s Ntshalintshali says its affiliates, some of whom are ANC members, would have long made up their minds about this internal contest.

However, this time around things are playing out differently.

“This time, I think there’s difficulties for our members to make a clear decision either way. They have not given us an indication and we do not want to move ahead of them.”

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Cosatu in 2017 backed Ramaphosa in a desperate move to sever ties with Jacob Zuma, however, it is a caveat that it was not a blank cheque seemingly rang hollow.

Ntshalintshali said that even attempts to reconfigure the alliance had not found expression in ANC structures.

“They’ve actually become a little bit vague and try to qualify. At a leadership level, there’s no issues but at the branches and structural levels there’s no feedback.”

While the ANC leadership race is not on the agenda, it might form part of deliberations if raised from the floor.

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Cosatu’s conference starts on Monday and will run until Thursday.

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