Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) president S'dumo Dlamini has assured Cosatu members that he will be at the forefront of the federation's campaign to have deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa elected ANC president at the party's elective conference in December.
Cosatu has already called for President Jacob Zuma to step down, but Dlamini came under fire for his remarks at Zuma's birthday party last year, where he supported the president.
According to Independent Online (IOL) on Friday, Dlamini told the party in Kliptown in April: "We wish you that in these hard trying times, as a father a husband and leader, to remain strong... As you are my leader and we tackle these issues I need you to be strong."
According to Times Live on Friday, Dlamini sang a different tune when addressing workers at the closing of Cosatu's central committee meeting in Irene on Thursday.
He reportedly said: "The democratic centralism dictates that decisions taken by the constitutional structure‚ binds everyone including if there's a possibility of people who may have been holding different views. Once a decision has been taken by the structure‚ it is binding to all of sundry within the organisation‚ its binding to me.
"When the workers have spoken‚ we all should understand that our responsibility is to implement that particular mandate. I am emphasising this point comrades so that from now on‚ when we stand and pronounce on a decision of the federation‚ now stop looking closer at the screen and say 'Does that one really mean what he is saying?'"
Dlamini was reportedly forced to introduce Ramaphosa, who addressed workers at the opening of the four day event. He was also reportedly given an ultimatum by National Union of Mineworkers' health and safety national chairperson, Peter Bailey. Bailey said Dlamini should take the federation's resolutions seriously or another leader would be found, Times Live reported.