Uhuru-Spirit News


May 02, 2017 | Uhuruspirit

All the scheduled speeches at Cosatu's main May Day rally were canceled because of disruptions.

On Monday, the main Workers' Day rally by the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in Bloemfontein descended into chaos after a section of the crowd heckled President Zuma and chanted that he “must go”.

As scuffles were seen apparently breaking out between the supporters and opponents of President Zuma, all the scheduled speeches were abruptly canceled.

President Jacob Zuma, Sidumo Dlamini (Cosatu President) and Blade Nzimande (SACP General Secretary) were among those billed to address the rally.

Zuma and his entourage could be seen on live TV hastily leaving the podium and being whisked away in a large motorcade from the event.

Cosatu, a key political ally of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), last month called on Zuma to step down after he replaced the then minister of finance, Pravin Gordhan.

Cosatu said at the time that they were not consulted before Zuma took the decision.

Cosatu and the South African Communist Party (SACP) are part of the ANC-led tripartite alliance.

Meanwhile, the African National Congress has blamed alliance leaders' early pronouncements on leadership preferences as a reason for the disruptions at Cosatu's main May Day rally in Bloemfontein.

Cosatu has made it clear that it prefers the ANC Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to succeed President Zuma at the ANC elective conference in December, while many ardent Zuma backers in both the ANC Women’s League and the Youth League are supporting the former African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, to succeed her former husband. Other names that have been mentioned as possible candidates include ANC Treasurer-General Zweli Mkhize, ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete, Jeff Radebe, Lindiwe Sisulu and former ANC treasurer Mathews Phosa.

ANC Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said it was unfortunate and regrettable that instead of celebrating sacrifices they made against exploitation and other challenges, workers allowed the event to be overshadowed by political leadership preferences.

"This is precisely the reason why we have cautioned Cosatu and other alliance structures including our leagues against premature announcements in public because they have an impact and bearing on our efforts to foster unity," Kodwa said.

He defended the ANC's decision to deploy Zuma to the Worker's Day event despite calls by Cosatu affiliates that he should be replaced by deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Kodwa said it would have been worse for Zuma not to show up at all.

"If President didn't show up, politically, it would have been worse. Let's deal with consequences; let's not postulate what would have happened if he did not. He went, nobody addressed the gathering including alliance partners," Kodwa told News24.

He said the ANC, Cosatu and SACP must talk to ensure that the incident never happens again as it undermines the unity and integrity of alliance leaders to address challenges it faces.

"But again, we will continue to make call on alliance partners that they must allow ANC branches to determine the leadership of the ANC," Kodwa said.

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