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'Zuma's booing is a message to the ANC'

An analyst says Zuma being booed on stage at Madiba’s JHB memorial sent an important message.

President Jacob Zuma greets the crowds ahead of his keynote address at FNB Stadium during the Nelson Mandela memorial on 10 December 2013. Picture: Herman Verwey/Mandela Pool.

CAPE TOWN - Political analyst Ebrahim Fakir says rank and file members of the African National Congress (ANC) feel their voices aren't being heard by the party.

He says that's the main reason for the booing that greeted President Jacob Zuma at Tuesday's memorial service for Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg.

The ANC has since condemned the behaviour as inappropriate.

Fakir says it sent an important message to the ruling party.

He says being able to hold leaders to account is the key feature of any democracy.

"Ordinary people and members of the party feel that their voices are not being heard by their leaders."

He says those booing were sending a message to the ANC.

"People are saying, 'We love the ANC we just don't like Zuma'."

But Fakir says while he expects the party to reflect on the incident, Zuma's position within the ANC is secure.

At the same time, ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte has become the highest-ranking ANC official yet to suggest the party could try to take action against the people who booed the president during the memorial service.

While there is no confirmation yet whether the people who booed on Tuesday were ANC members, Duarte says they are considering their options.

"It's very hard under the circumstances to identify people specifically, but we are thinking of looking into it a bit more seriously."

But political analyst Somadoda Fikeni says this is a symptom of much bigger problems.

"We are in a degenerative state in terms of our political culture."

Over the last few years, ANC members have walked out on former president Thabo Mbeki, DA leader Helen Zille has been booed in front of President Zuma and ANC members in the Western Cape have thrown human faeces in protest.