PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma’s invite to address the May Day official celebration in the Free State has been met by outrage from two unions within the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu).
The National Education, Health and Allied Workers’ Union (Nehawu) and the Communications Workers Union (CWU) have called on Cosatu to bar Zuma from addressing the event and called on the honour to be bestowed on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Nehawu general secretary Bereng Soke wrote a letter to Cosatu’s Bheki Ntshalintshali asking that it not be Zuma on the podium.
“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 in the main rally,” Soke wrote.
The CWU echoed the same sentiments. Deputy general secretary Thabo Mogalane said the federation should stick to the central executive committee (CEC) resolution to not support Zuma.
“We agree President Zuma should not address the National May Day rally on the 1st May 2017and that he must be replaced,” said the Communication Worker’s Union in the letter, which adds to the call by Cosatu affiliates for the president not to be a speaker at the event. Our understanding of the resolution of the CEC [Central Executive Committee] regarding President Zuma is the same as Nehawu’s,” said Mogalane.
He said Cosatu no longer believes that the president of the African National Congress and the republic is the right person to unite and lead the movement, the alliance and the country.
Zuma was due to address the rally at the Loch Logan Park in Bloemfontein on Monday.
It’s unclear whether Cosatu will bow to the demands of the two affiliates.
Cosatu has publicly thrown its weight behind Ramaphosa to succeed Zuma when the ANC heads to its elective conference in December.