Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Zwelinzima Vavi. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

CONGRESS of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi has declined a nomination to the national executive committee (NEC) of the African National Congress (ANC).

Mr Vavi said on Thursday his decision was "for all the old reasons, no new reasons".

He had likewise declined a nomination ahead of the ANC’s 2007 elective conference, saying at the time "in the principle that the president and general secretary of a trade union federation like Cosatu should not wear more than one political hat, even within the context of the tripartite alliance".

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini on Thursday declined to comment publicly on the nomination process. Mr Dlamini has been nominated by the ANC in KwaZulu-Natal, among others.

Earlier on Thursday, Cosatu released a letter intended for distribution at the ANC’s elective conference in Mangaung at the weekend, which called for "greater participation of working-class leadership in ANC structures" as the working class had been "displaced".

Earlier this year, President Jacob Zuma had urged trade unionists not to avoid top leadership positions in the party, suggesting that Cosatu could better influence policy at NEC level if its serving leaders were members.

South African Communist Party (SACP) deputy general secretary Jeremy Cronin also said on Thursday that he would turn down a nomination to serve on the NEC, of which has been a member for almost two decades.

Mr Cronin — who is also the deputy minister of public service and administration — said he had decided to turn down the nomination because he was "overstretched".

"I want to focus more on writing and reading and my government work," he said.

With Sam Mkokeli