Cosatu must bar Zuma from speaking at May Day celebrations - Nehawu

2017-04-26 20:21

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Johannesburg - Cosatu affiliates are demanding that President Jacob Zuma be replaced as the main speaker at its May day Celebrations. 

Cosatu's biggest affiliate Nehawu wrote to the federation on April 21 demanding that they withdraw Zuma and replace him with Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as the main speaker at its celebrations to be held in Bloemfontein on Monday to mark Workers day. They were then backed by the Communication Workers Union who also wrote to the federation.

Zuma is scheduled to address the celebrations in Bloemfontein on Monday to mark Workers Day.

"We request the National Office Bearers of Cosatu 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," Nehawu said in a letter addressed to general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali.

Nehawu said their demand was in light of Cosatu's Central Executive Committee's statement that Zuma was no longer the right person to unite and lead the movement, the alliance and the country.

This is in response to Zuma's Cabinet reshuffle that saw him fire five ministers, including Pravin Gordhan as finance minister.

Zuma made these major executive changes without consulting alliance partners Cosatu and the SACP.

'Intensify existing instability'

Nehawu said that allowing Zuma to speak at the rally would intensify existing instability within the alliance, and that it had the potential to further weaken Cosatu.

"In this context, Nehawu believes that inviting the president of the ANC to address any of our coming May Day rallies, particularly the main rally in Bloemfontein, will create conflicting messages to our members, workers, and the public in general," the union said.

Zuma is expected to share a stage with Cosatu president Sdumo Dlamini and SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande, for the first time since the two alliance partners called for him to step down.

Nehawu was the first Cosatu affiliate to say that it had lost confidence in Zuma. 

Ntshalintshali responded in a letter to all affiliates, stating that the decision to give Zuma and other alliance partners a platform was agreed to at the federation's CEC. 

"The Cosatu's NOB's understand that President Zuma as state president should step down. We do not have an understanding that as ANC president he is [not] allowed to attend Cosatu activities," Ntshalintshali wrote. 

When News24 asked Dlamini if Zuma was still scheduled to address the rally, he referred questions to the ANC.

The ANC was not immediately available for comment. 

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

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