The African National Congress (ANC) has slammed Gupta-owned media ANN7 for publishing a report that accused ANC top brass of ‘compelling’ president Jacob Zuma to attend this year’s May Day Rally on Monday.
The ruling party buttressed that President Zuma was not forced to the event by ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa, secretary general Gwede Mantashe and treasurer general Zweli Mkhize, as purported by the media.
ANC national Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa maintained that the decision to have Zuma attend Cosatu’s May Day rally was a decision taken by the national officials, who were fully aware of the potential for heckling and other disruptions.
Last week, three Cosatu affiliates reportedly wrote to the federation’s general secretary requesting another ANC leader to speak on Zuma’s behalf.
The affiliates include the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and South African Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu).
They insisted in the letter that Zuma is not eligible to lead, unite the movement and speak to them. They suggested that Ramaphosa should speak to them.
Speaking further, Zizi Kodwa condemned the report, saying such reportage is habitual and typical of ANN7 and described it as having no element of truth, divisive and designed to create an illusion of ANC insider status for the channel.
Kodwa added: “Members of the media have a responsibility to report the news accurately, factually and objectively. ANN7, however, seems determined to manufacture false consensus, sharpening contradictions and deepening fissures in the ANC. The station effectively acts as a mouthpiece of the factional divisions that plague the ANC, consistently showing itself as being intent on driving wedges within the organisation and pitting comrade against comrade.”
On Monday, Zuma, ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete and deputy general secretary Jessie Duarte faced a torrid time in front of Cosatu members in Bloemfontein.
A group of Cosatu supporters were spotted chanting ‘Zuma must go’ and ‘Zuma must fall’. The disruption, however, brought the event to an abrupt end when a brawl erupted between a crop of Zuma’s supporters and the majority of his critics.
Prior to the disaster, Cosatu Free State Provincial Secretary, Monyatso Mahlatsi announced there would be no speeches. Thereafter, a memorandum to employer representatives was signed before Zuma fled the scene in fear.
The president was due to address the event, along with Cosatu President Sdumo Dlamini and SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande.
Cosatu Free State Secretary Monyatso Mahlatsi, who weighed in afterwards, said Cosatu did the right thing by pulling the president to the May Day rally.
“It was not a mistake because we as Cosatu cannot go to the ANC and dictate to them their activities. The only sad thing is that politics took place in an event of workers” he said.
Meanwhile, reports have it that ANC Free State leader Magashule alleged that the anti-Zuma disruption was caused by outsiders and has vowed the analyse the video of the disruptions.
Away from the proliferation of factional groups in the ANC which is as a result of the upcoming elective conference, the swelled antagonism against president Zuma by most Cosatu members has been linked to the recent cabinet reshuffle that led to the dismissal of respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy.