The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has demanded the sacking of “weak and polarising” Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane.

Cosatu’s central executive committee (CEC) said at their meeting that Zwane has failed in his portfolio at the helm of the country’s resource extraction and exploration industries.

“The meeting submitted a vote of no confidence in the minister … Zwane. He is a weak and polarising figure that has failed to deal with retrenchments, illegal mining and ongoing violence [in the sector],” Cosatu said in a statement. 

“His collusion with other unions to isolate and attack the National Union of Mineworkers was the last straw for the CEC.
We are calling for him to step aside or to be dismissed,” the statement concluded.

Cosatu’s call comes after president Jacob Zuma accepted Zwane’s apology for issuing a false statement on behalf of the Cabinet about a commission of inquiry into the banking sector. 

The presidency said Zwane had been privately reprimanded by Zuma, but the ANC described the minister’s actions as “appalling” and “outrageous”.

Cosatu said they planned to explain their demand for senior ANC officials in the near future. 

“We are making a public call and we hope that when we meet with the ANC we will be able to engage and give the reasons for our demand. We are making a public call for now, asking him to resign,” general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali told the Mail & Guardian.