President Jacob Zuma called the president of trade union federation Cosatu yesterday morning to discuss its call for him to step down.
“I wish this call could have come on Thursday last week because it would have saved the federation from this situation we are now in. But we have to note the call is important and [we] have to listen to what the president will say,” Cosatu leader Sidumo Dlamini said in Johannesburg.
“I said: ‘Yes, president, ngiyakuzwa (I hear you) but let me go and consult the collective leadership of Cosatu, which is what we are doing’,” said Dlamini.
He was briefing the media after the party’s special central executive committee meeting.
Cosatu’s message to the president was loud and clear: he must resign.
Asked whether or not the federation would retract the decision after the phone call from the president, Dlamini said it would “consider” that option.
Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said the federation had its doubts over Zuma’s leadership abilities.
“Cosatu no longer believes that the president is the right person to unite and lead the movement, the alliance and the country,” said Ntshalintshali yesterday.
“We think that after all his undeniable contribution to both the movement and government, the time has arrived for him to step down and allow the country to be led forward by a new collective at a government level.
“We no longer believe in his leadership abilities and we shall be communicating that decision to our ally, the ANC.”
Zuma reshuffled his cabinet last week, axing former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
Cosatu has endorsed deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa to take over as ANC president when Zuma’s term comes to an end in December.