Battle for posts 'will weaken ANC'
COSATU general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has called on ANC leaders to avoid a bruising succession fight in the same way his organisation did at its elective congress.
Vavi, who was re-elected unopposed on Monday, said vicious battles over positions would weaken the ANC and hamper its ability to deliver on its promises to radically transform the country's economy.
Delivering his political report at the federation's conference at Gallagher Estate in Midrand yesterday, Vavi appealed to those jostling for power in the ANC to stop for the sake of unity.
"We are calling on those who have narrow ambitions to please hold on a little bit," he said.
"We hope that the movement will be inspired by the maturity that was demonstrated by Cosatu."
Vavi, emboldened by his re-election, called for unity in the ANC, saying members of Cosatu will be the hardest hit by the "collapse" of the ANC.
Vavi's comments come as jockeying for the leadership of the ANC gets into top gear as the party prepares to open nominations for positions in two weeks.
His sentiments can also be interpreted as an indication that Cosatu was likely to support Zuma's re-election and the retention of the other top five leaders of the ANC. Zuma also enjoys support from the embattled National Union of Mineworkers, Cosatu's biggest affiliate.
Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and the organisation's second biggest affiliate, metalworkers' union Numsa, have also called on the federation to support Zuma, who received a warm reception from delegates.
It was expected that Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe will challenge Zuma for the throne of the party but Cosatu and its affiliates are pushing for Zuma, secretary-general Gwede Mantashe and chairwoman Baleka Mbete to be retained in their respective positions in Mangaung in December.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is believed to be campaigning to replace Mantashe.
But Vavi was concerned about the negative impact the scrambling for control was having on the ANC and the possibility that this could see leaders fighting "up to the last drop of our blood" in Mangaung.
"The worst thing that could happen to the ANC is for every delegate to arrive (in Mangaung) with no programme because we spent all of our time battling each other without thinking about what was in the best interests of the movement," he said.
"We avoided this yesterday."