'Zuma will speak at May Day rally despite objections'

Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla has confirmed that President Jacob Zuma will address workers today despite objections from some unions.

FILE: South African president Jacob Zuma. Picture: AFP.

BLOEMFONTEIN – Despite some unions affiliated to Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) objecting to plans for the president to address the federation’s main May Day rally in Bloemfontein today, the federation says President Jacob Zuma will be speaking at the commemoration.

At least three Cosatu unions have warned that allowing the president to address Cosatu members would send a confusing message because the federation has taken a resolution that Zuma should step down as president.

“We can confirm that the president of the Republic will be representing the African National Congress,” says Cosatu’s Sizwe Pamla.

He says the fact that some unions have objected to his address is not an issue.

“Right now is it not an issue, Cosatu works through resolutions. There’s no resolution banning the president from addressing Cosatu meetings as the president of the African National Congress.”

However, he seems to be aware that some members may boo the president.

“We hope that workers can celebrate with a level of discipline as they have always done in the past.”

Pamla also confirmed South African Communist Party (SACP) leader Blade Nzimande, whose organisation also called on Zuma to step down, will join the president today.

The SACP has resolved that Zuma is no longer fit to hold office and should step down.

Nzimande said the party was sometimes sidelined by the ruling party during decision making, but was still expected to support the outcome.

“But when wrong decisions are taken we are expected to defend them as allies. No, the time for that now has ended.”

He said it was about time the SACP focused on itself as a movement and grew itself.

Nzimande said the tripartite alliance was bigger than any individual and persons who destroyed the ANC from within should be held to account.

He criticised government’s handling of state capture and said something should be done immediately.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)