Presidential hopeful Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has met with the leader of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), Irvin Jim, in a move that has left union leaders suspicious, Business Day reported on Friday.
The meeting was reportedly to outline her vision for the country, in what some see as an attempt by the formed African Union Commission chair to establish a working class support base for her campaign.
Union members told Business Day they were concerned the meeting indicated that Jim was pursuing personal ambitions.
Dlamini-Zuma's policy of "economic transformation" appears to align with Numsa's own policies, which include land expropriation without compensation and the nationalisation of the South African Reserve Bank, Business Day reported.
Senior leaders reportedly raised concerns about the meeting because it was Jacob Zuma's allies, also seen as allies of Dlamini-Zuma's allies, who were behind Numsa's expulsion from Cosatu. Suspicions were also raised when Jim did not mention Dlamini-Zuma in his central committee report this week.
A senior member told Business Day: "How do we know he is not selling workers to Nkosazana's campaign?"
Meanwhile, Jim's report criticised Dlamini-Zuma's opponent, deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.
"We reject Cyril Ramaphosa who will perpetuate the status quo of starving the working class by paying them a national minimum wage of R3500 and continue with apartheid colonial wages."
Jim could apparently not be reached.