ANC blames alliance leaders for Zuma booes - Kodwa

2017-05-01 16:02
Zizi Kodwa (Herman Verwey, Netwerk24)

Zizi Kodwa (Herman Verwey, Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The African National Congress has blamed alliance leaders' early pronouncements on leadership preferences as a reason for President Jacob Zuma being booed, heckled and prevented from addressing Cosatu's main May Day rally in Bloemfontein.

Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said it was unfortunate and regrettable that instead of workers celebrating sacrifices they made against exploitation and other challenges instead the event was 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.

Monday displayed the correctness of that call, he said. Cosatu cancelled all speeches at its main event in Bloemfontein, including Zuma's keynote address after an unrelenting crowd refused to let Zuma speak.

They sang and chanted anti-Zuma songs as he arrived at Loch Logan in Bloemfontein and despite attempts to calm them down they continued heckling until event was ended abruptly before speeches could be delivered.

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Preferred presidential candidate

Kodwa 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.

Cosatu has endorsed Ramaphosa as their preferred presidential candidate ahead of the December elective conference and called for Zuma to step down after he reshuffled his cabinet without consulting them. He said ANC was within its right to deploy Zuma.

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.

Meanwhile ANC Free State chairperson Ace Magashule blamed the incident on ill-discipline saying all leaders should be embarrassed.

SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande who was also expected to address the rally, said the alliance must see the incident as the ultimate wake-up call.

Chaos

Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle has heightened tensions within the tripartite alliance. Cosatu and SACP had already announced, before the Cabinet reshuffle, that they were unhappy with the state of the alliance dominated by the ANC.

"In essence, if we don't arrest this we will be judged harshly as the generation of leaders who allowed the alliance to collapse in our hands. I hope it is the ultimate wake-up call but we are still going back to discuss the matter," Nzimande said after the Cosatu event was cancelled.

Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini who was also scheduled to speak, said the alliance must meet to discuss the chaos at the May Day rally.

He said it was the chaos from members that prevented them from proceeding with the programme as planned.

"It is important for all of us to meet very soon to discuss this matter and see how we can go forward," Dlamini said.

He said that the message that Cosatu had for country on Worker's Day could not be sent.

Dlamini said they were aware of plans to boo the president before the May Day commemorations.

"It was clear but you don't stop the march. We needed to proceed with the march. What can we do? We knew this was going to happen," Dlamini said.

Read more on:    cosatu  |  anc  |  jacob zuma  |  politics

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