Mashatile: It's time ANC listened to the people

Gauteng ANC chairperson Paul Mashatile says the leadership of the party will have to meet in its different structures to reflect on what happened on Monday and come up with a way forward.

FILE: Gauteng ANC leader Paul Mashatile. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG – Gauteng African National Congress (ANC) chairperson Paul Mashatile says what happened at Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s main May Day rally and other Workers Day events shows that the ruling party is not listening to its people, adding that if this continues the party will pay the ultimate price in 2019.

On Monday, President Jacob Zuma was heckled and prevented from addressing thousands of workers in Bloemfontein.

At the same time, in KwaZulu-Natal, ANC national chairperson Baleka Mbete and KZN chairperson Sihle Zikalala were booed at a rally in the province and in Limpopo, deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte also had a tough time addressing workers, as they erupted in song while she attempted to speak.

Mashatile was speaking in Sandton on Tuesday morning after discussing the Gauteng Infrastructure Fund summit, which comes to an end on Thursday.

Three of the ANC’s top brass received hostile receptions across the country as calls for Zuma to resign grew louder.

Mashatile says Monday’s developments were a clear call from South Africans who are now tired of not being taken seriously.

“Obviously this is a worrisome development to us. It does say that something is not right, there’s something that the people are trying to tell us, something that is not going right.”

He says its time the ANC listened.

“We can’t close our eyes and think everything is going well.”

Mashatile says the leadership of the party will have to meet in its different structures to reflect on what happened on Monday and come up with a way forward.

WATCH: Anti-Zuma protest halts Cosatu’s May Day rally

COSATU DIVIDED

The events that took place on Monday were the first time a sitting president has been booed by an alliance organisation.

Political analyst Ralph Matekga says it shows Cosatu is no longer a unified organisation.

“It’s actually proved that President Jacob Zuma has divided the workers and workers are no longer going to take this lying down.”

Labour analyst Mamokgethi Malopyane says this shows Cosatu is about to change dramatically.

“It changes the structure of Cosatu. I wonder it would be seen as the strong Cosatu or it would now be perceived as a reborn Cosatu.”

These developments could also mean some unions will now try to force Dlamini out of his position for allowing Zuma to attend the event in the first place.

At the same time, this could be seen as a turning point both for Zuma and for Cosatu.

Malopyane added: “We’ve seen far deeper fractures now, it’s clear there’s no turning back. Inevitable change will happen within Cosatu.”

While Matekga says senior Cosatu leaders may have to carry the can for this.

“I think they would be blamed for leaving Cosatu in tatters, for actually mortgaging the future of Cosatu on Zuma’s troubled leadership.”

But with Zuma showing no signs of leaving office, the divisions in Cosatu could be just a taste of what could happen in the ANC ahead of its December leadership contest.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)