24/11/2016 17:12 GMT | Updated 24/11/2016 18:03 GMT

Sorry Cosatu, The ANC Women's League Has Other Plans For President

The league says it will make sure a woman becomes the next president.

Denis Balibouse / Reuters
The ANC Women's League believes the country is ready for a female president.

It is very premature for Cosatu to endorse Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to take over from President Jacob Zuma as the next leader of the ANC, the party's Women's League said on Thursday.

"As the women's league, we still maintain that the country is ready for a female president," secretary general Meokho Matuba told News24.

Earlier, Cosatu general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told reporters that, after an "intense and robust debate", the CEC (central executive committee) had resolved to support and lobby for Ramaphosa.

The trade union federation said it wanted the ANC to avoid a contested elective conference next year.

However, Matuba said they were still waiting for ANC processes where they would be able to lobby on the "proper platforms" of the organisation.

"We will make sure that a woman becomes president in the country," Matuba said.

She believed that the party had a "pool" of women who were qualified to lead the country.

"Next year we will be launching our programme on the women who will be ready to lead the country... if women lead, the poverty, unemployment, inequality and gender-based violence would be reduced," she said.

Earlier this year, News24 reported that African Union (AU) chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma had given the strongest indication yet that she would be in the running for ANC president come 2017.

News24 asked her after the closing of the AU heads of state summit whether her staying for another nine months at the helm of the continental body would affect her campaign in the ANC.

She indicated that she would be free to take up the position if required.

"The [ANC] conference is December 2017," she said at the time.

Dlamini-Zuma is the first female AU chairperson, and some in the ANC are campaigning for her to become the party's and the country's first female president.