The Congress of Trade Unions General-Secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali has not minced words in his warning to leaders within the federation to toe the party line or leave.
“When a decision has been taken, you must be the first one to stand up and defend that decision,” he said at a provincial shop steward council meeting held in Johannesburg on Thursday.
The general-secretary told the council that leaders have a responsibility to back decisions made by the party.
“If you can’t accept decisions taken by the majority and you can’t defend it, you must step down and say: I can’t defend it,” he said.
His comments are believed to be directed at Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini. Dlamini attended President Jacob Zuma’s birthday celebrations last week, while other members of the tripartite alliace and other ANC senior members did not attend.
The federation has publicly said that it has lost faith in Zuma’s leadership and have called on him to step down.
In what can be interpreted as a swipe at the president, Ntshalinthali said that he found it bizarre that the president has only now decided to support a female candidate for president.
The Cosatu general-secretary said that there is a difference between South Africa and the United States and that the country will never have a ‘Bill and Hillary Clinton’.