Labour federation Cosatu’s Zingiswa Losi has downplayed her nomination into the ANC’s top six, saying that the time for lone worker voices in the ANC is over.
The most important thing is for workers to swell the ranks of the ANC’s highest decision-making body – the national executive committee (NEC), she told City Press this week.
She has been touted for the position of deputy secretary-general on Cyril Ramaphosa’s slate.
Second deputy president to Cosatu, Losi’s nomination follows the removal of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma loyalist Febe Potgieter-Gqubule from the slate when it became clear that her loyalties lay with Ramaphosa’s number one competition.
Losi said Cosatu’s central executive committee (CEC) decided this week to establish a four-member task team, which would be part of Ramaphosa’s campaign team.
The immediate task of this “war room” would be to convene meetings with ANC branch delegates to persuade them to give Ramaphosa their votes at the party’s elective conference later this month.
The team is made up of Losi, Cosatu deputy general secretary Solly Phetoe, SA Democratic Teachers Union deputy general secretary Nkosana Dolopi and National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union general secretary Zola Saphetha.
Talking about her nomination, Losi said: “The most important thing is to have more workers in the NEC of the ANC, in order to have the kind of shift which we need in favour of workers in the country.
“Having one person doesn’t assist, because that one person gets outvoted.
“It doesn’t mean that person does not put push for the working class in meetings. They do, but the numbers are never on their side. It depends on other people and their thinking. So, decisions are rarely in favour of the workers.
“Therefore, it is important for us to have an NEC that has youth, workers, women, professionals and academia,” Losi said.
Despite her nomination coming from a slate, Losi condemned Ramaphosa’s shock announcement of his preferred top five during an event in Limpopo last month.
“We had a meeting with him about two weeks ago and we raised that issue of announcing a slate.
“We needed to meet him to discuss what we expect of him, or what our needs are, and also to raise concerns on that announcement, because we felt it was undermining branch processes or forcing them to toe a particular line.
“We expect that any movement that takes place between now and the conference will happen in consultation with us,” Losi said.
Cosatu affiliates first raised Ramaphosa’s candidature at the trade union federation’s congress in 2015.
The congress called on the ANC to observe its own tradition, according to which the deputy president succeeds the president.
Losi emphasised that she was not the only leader in Cosatu who had been nominated to serve on the ANC’s NEC.
In fact, this week’s CEC gave the green light for all those nominated to allow various processes to unfold. If the conference elected them, then their next move would be discussed at the different levels at which they served Cosatu.
Losi said she was focusing on her mandate to lead Cosatu to its 2018 elective conference, as well as the mandate handed to her in recent weeks, when she was elected the first woman president of the Southern African Trade Union Coordination Council.
Losi nearly lost a re-election to her current position at the 2015 congress, after workers raised issues with her eligibility to remain an official.
This was because she resigned from her union, the National Union of Metalworkers of SA, shortly before it was expelled from Cosatu in November 2014. She joined the Police and Prisons’ Civil Rights Union.
Losi was appointed to her current post in Cosatu in 2012.