SA May Day Rally : Cosatu Defies Orders Not To Allow Zuma Speak On May 1


Congress of Trade Union Federation, Cosatu has turned down a request by one of its strong affiliates demanding for deputy Ramaphosa to speak in place of Zuma at the SA May day rally.

Trade Union Federation says Zuma is allowed to speak as ANC leader but not as the President Of South Africa.

Workers across South Africa are planning to humiliate the President Jacob Zuma by not allowing him to speak on workers day meant to be celebrated on Monday, May 1.

Trade Union Federation (Cosatu) received a letter from one of its affiliates the National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu), requesting that deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa speak to workers on May day, instead of the President himself.

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President Jacob Zuma was to address workers union during the SA May day rally at the Loch Logan Park in Bloemfontein on Monday. Cosatu’s president, S’dumo Dlamini, and South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande were also expected to speak at the event.

But in a letter addressed to the trade union federation’s Bheki Ntshalintshali, Nehawu general secretary said the union asked him to instruct the ANC to change the person they planned to deploy to the federation’s May Day Rally on Monday.

“We request the national office bearers to look into this matter and inform the ANC that comrade Zuma must be replaced by another eligible leader of the ANC, particularly the deputy president as the main speaker at the main rally,” Soke wrote in the letter.

“Inviting Zuma to speak at the SA May Day rally would “create conflicting messages to our members, workers and the public in general

“This possible confusion will intensify the existing instability within the movement and present a potential to further weaken Cosatu,” Soke’s letter stated.

The Communication Workers’ Union supported Nehawu’s request with its own letter asking that Zuma should not be allowed to address the rally.

“Our understanding of the resolution of the CEC regarding President Zuma is the same as Nehawu’s that ‘…Cosatu no longer believes that the president of the African National Congress and the republic, comrade Jacob Zuma, is the right person to unite and lead the movement, the alliance, and the country’.”

“‘We, therefore, agree that President Zuma should not address the SA May Day rally on May 1, 2017 and that he must be replaced,” CWU deputy general secretary Thabo Mogalane said in a letter.

In reply to this, the trade union federation insists that Zuma would be allowed to make his speak as the leader of the ruling ANC. President Sdumo Dlamini said President Jacob Zuma is welcome to address its May Day rally and not as the leader of the country.

This decision by the trade union was to further intensify its stance earlier this year that it no longer had faith in Zuma’s leadership capabilities as president of the country.

May 1, popularly known by South Africans as May day is a day set aside for workers in South Africans to celebrate roles played by Trade Unions, the Communist Party and other labor movements in the struggle against Apartheid.

Though the day’s celebrations date back to the 1800s when workers across the globe struggled for a shorter workday and demand of major political significance for the working class, South Africans celebrate the day as a day they were accorded some measures of relevance.

This became so after British labor and socialist leader Tom Mann, on a visit in 1910, criticized the South African Labour Party for neglecting workers and urged the white labor movement to begin to think seriously of organizing African workers.

This gave birth to unions like several unions organized to speak for workers in various departments across the country. COSATU, founded in 1985 now stands as the largest of South Africa’s three main trade union federations, with 21 affiliated trade unions.

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Speaking in response to Nehawu’s letter, Cosatu’s president Sdumo Dlamini said by not allowing Zuma to speak as SA president, the federation is only disputing his leadership capability as the president of the country, not as the leader of the party.

“Cosatu has invited speakers of the ANC and the ANC deploys the speakers it chooses to select. If Zuma comes, then we won’t have a problem.”

Cosatu national treasurer Freda Oosthuysen reiterated this saying the union’s decision does not mean that workers hate Zuma. “No, we don’t hate him. We say it in a comradely manner that he must step down” he concluded saying.