Magashule: The people still support Zuma

The ANC and Cosatu in the Free State insist that the heckling of President Jacob Zuma at the trade federation's May Day rally had nothing to do with him.

President Jacob Zuma addressing Freedom Day celebrations in Manguzi on 27 April 2017. Picture: GCIS

Johannesburg – Despite the embarrassment suffered by President Jacob Zuma after being booed at a Workers' Day rally in Bloemfontein, the African National Congress (ANC) and Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Free State insist this had nothing to do with him.

They believe he still enjoys support from most members. Zuma was booed and heckled.

Organisers of the rally eventually cancelled all speeches.

Several Cosatu unions made it clear last week that they did not want the president to address the event.

As Zuma arrived at the rally, some people cheered but it was the heckling and booing directed at him that collapsed the gathering and led to the event being cut short.

Despite this reaction to the president, Cosatu’s leader Sdumo Dlamini says it had nothing to do with President Zuma.

“It’s not about just that one individual, it’s bigger than that but we must go to the table and have thorough reflections.”

And Free State ANC chair Ace Magashule agrees.

“The people are still in support of Jacob Zuma. Go and check where Zuma goes and see how much he’s supported.”

What’s clear though, is that the rally laid bare divisions within the alliance and embarrassed the president and his supporters.

[Watch] Anti-Zuma protest halts Cosatu’s May Day rally


Dlamini said the federation’s leaders knew that President Zuma would be heckled but said there was nothing it could do.

He said they knew the president would be heckled.

“It was clear, but we didn’t need to stop the march.”

Magashule said he thought threats to boo the president were just rumours.

“I heard from the spokesperson of the ANC that there are these rumours that there will be booing and disruptions and we said those will be ill-disciplined people and cadres.”

The leaders agree that divisions in the ANC-led alliance are driving workers and unions membership to the ground.


The Free State ANC meanwhile says it will analyse video footage to ascertain if its members contributed to the collapse of the gathering.

The provincial ANC will meet with SACP and Cosatu leaders on Tuesday to discuss what happened.

Magashule said what happened on Monday was shameful.

“We’ve taken our own videos. We’ll be analysing them ahead of the meeting with the alliance officials. People in this province are quite disciplined from across the alliance partners and that’s why we’re saying it’s an embarrassment.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)