"We will endorse those we have identified as the core of the Polokwane collective – the current president [Jacob Zuma], deputy president [Kgalema Motlanthe] and the secretary-general [Gwede Mantashe]," Cosatu's central executive committee (CEC) said in a statement on Wednesday.
"In our assessment the other comrades have not assisted us in taking forward the Polokwane resolutions – in particular the national treasurer [Mathews Phosa] and the deputy secretary general [Thandi Modise]."
The decision was taken at a special two-day CEC meeting at the Congress of South African Trade Unions' Johannesburg headquarters, which started on Monday.
Nominations for the ANC leadership were deferred to the CEC during Cosatu's national congress last month. This was after some of its affiliates proposed that the discussion on the ANC's leadership be opened, sparking heated debate. The proposal was rejected.
Zuma would stand for a second term as ANC leader at the elective conference in Mangaung in December.
Some in the ANC had called for a change in leadership and wanted Motlanthe to take the top position. Some ANC structures had nominated Motlanthe for the top job. He had however not indicated whether he would accept the nomination.
Cosatu is expected to have 25 non-voting delegates at the national conference. However, it had influence over its members, many of whom were ANC members, and who would be at the conference as voting delegates.
The federation also supported Zuma during the ANC's last elective conference in Polokwane in 2007, when former president Thabo Mbeki was unseated. Cosatu said it did not want the ANC to be taken over by a "new class of tenderpreneurs".
A tenderpreneur is someone who uses their political power to obtain government contracts. "In identifying this collective [leadership] we are not in any way suggesting that it is perfect with no weaknesses of its own, collectively or individually," it said. "We however believe that this nucleus has the best possibility under the circumstances to take us forward in the manner as categorically stated by our congress."
Cosatu said the CEC would meet again to discuss who should be on the ANC's national executive committee (NEC). "[The CEC will] discuss the composition of the ANC NEC as a whole, including identifying comrades within our ranks who are active and fully paid-up members of the ANC for nomination into the NEC."
During the ANC's national policy conference it was proposed that the NEC be cut from 80 to 60 members. Some union bosses reportedly had their eye on NEC positions. – Sapa