May Day chaos shows Zuma has divided workers - analyst

Some analysts believe that the divisions in Cosatu could be just a taste of what could happen in the ANC ahead of its December leadership contest.

Anti-Zuma protesters tear a supporters T-shirt at the Cosatu Workers Day rally in Bloemfontein.Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – As the African National Congress (ANC) in the Free State blames external forces infiltrating the party for Monday’s chaos where President Jacob Zuma was booed, the mother body has laid the blame squarely on the party’s alliance partners.

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 Congress of South African Trade Unions (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.”

While 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 Cosatu president Sdumo 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.

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

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)