Cosatu has defended its decision to back ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa as its candidate to replace President Jacob Zuma next year, describing him as a “liberator of mineworkers” during apartheid.
The federation dismissed criticism levelled at Ramaphosa over his role in the Marikana massacre, saying it was a ploy to discredit the ANC-led government but not necessarily the ANC deputy president as an individual leader.
Cosatu’s announcement yesterday followed its central executive committee (CEC) meeting this week.
“You keep raising Marikana. A commission was put in place and Cyril was not found guilty.
“Things will be raised – it doesn’t matter who leads the ANC, this war is not against individuals, but the ANC.
“They [opposition parties] want regime change,” said Cosatu’s second deputy president Zingiswa Losi.
Prior to the CEC meeting, Cosatu had said it would allow its affiliated unions to decide who should be endorsed as Zuma’s replacement.
But indications are that the labour federation buckled under pressure from its affiliates, such as the National Mineworkers Union (NUM), Nehawu, teachers’ union Sadtu and the Communication Workers Union.
The ANC is due to hold its elective conference next year in December and factions within the party and its aligned structures are intensifying lobbying for their preferred candidates.
Cosatu’s first deputy president Tyotyo James said it should be remembered that it was Ramaphosa who had “liberated” workers during apartheid.
“He founded the NUM and became its first general secretary. It was through his actions that mineworkers were liberated from prison-like conditions.”
Cosatu’s decision is seen as a slap in the face of its president Sdumo Dlamini, a staunch Zuma supporter who wanted to rally behind a candidate from an ANC camp aligned to him.
Dlamini, who attended yesterday’s press conference, did not speak on the issue as Cosatu leaders tried to explain that their decision to support Ramaphosa had been unanimous.
In another indication that Cosatu had lost patience with Zuma, it said it supported the institution of a judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of state capture as recommended by former public protector Thuli Madonsela. This comes after Zuma, responding to questions in parliament on Wednesday, complained that Madonsela had no right to instruct him to institute a commission of inquiry.
Cosatu also announced yesterday that it had submitted a vote of no confidence in the Minister of Mineral Resources Mosebenzi Zwane. It accused Zwane of colluding with other unions against NUM.
“He is a weak and polarising figure who has failed to deal with the biggest issues like retrenchments, illegal mining and the ongoing violence,” said Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali. “His collusion with other unions to isolate and attack the NUM was the last straw for the CEC. We are calling for him to step aside or to be dismissed.”
Tunisia names Habib Jeml as prime minister
Tunisia’s moderate Islamist Ennahda party has chosen Habib Jemli as its choice for prime minister.
Mr Jemli, 60, used to be a junior agriculture minister.
President Kais Saied, who was elected in a landslide victory on 13 October, is expected to officially ask him to form a new government later on Friday, reports Reuters news agency.
The moderate Islamist party Ennahda holds only a quarter of the seats in parliament, Reuters adds, so Mr Saied’s first task will be to build a governing coalition.
Tunisia sparked the so-called Arab Spring in 2011 with its revolution which ended autocratic rule.
Activities paralyzed as Hong Kong unrest hikes
Hundreds of Hong kong protester has paralyzed today’s activities by forcing closure of bussiness hubs and institutions amid a mark of aggravated violence.
Local news says, a handful number of the Anti-govenment protesters occupied roads in the Central business district, home to some of the world’s most expensive real estate, during their lunch hour.
Protesters have torched vehicles and buildings, hurled petrol bombs at police stations and trains and vandalized prime shopping malls over the past week in some of the worst violence seen in more than five months of unrest.
Many were dressed in office attire and wore the now-banned face masks as they marched down a major thoroughfare that connects luxury shopping malls and glittering skyscrapers.
Hundreds of protesters also set up barricades near a popular shopping mall in the eastern part of Hong Kong island, dragging traffic cones and orange gates to block roads.
Some held up signs reading “Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time” and “Stand with Hong Kong”, slogans that have become rallying calls for the protest movement.
Across the harbor, black-clad protesters and university students maintained their blockades of major roads, including the entrance to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel that links Hong Kong island to the Kowloon area, and a highway between Kowloon and the rural New Territories.
Police fired tear gas near the tunnel early on Thursday to try to clear the protesters. Roads were strewn with bricks and other debris, leading to widespread traffic jams.
Thousands of students barricaded themselves inside campuses at several universities overnight, preparing stockpiles of food, bricks, petrol bombs and other make-do weapons as they hunkered down.
Dozens of riot police gathered outside several universities early on Thursday as students fortified their positions with metal poles, bricks and chairs.
At Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University, near the Kowloon entrance of the Cross Harbour tunnel, hundreds of students wearing gas masks readied for confrontations with police.
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