‘Cosatu should’ve told Zuma he wasn’t welcome at May Day rally’

Lindiwe Sisulu says if the workers didn't want Zuma at the event, the federation should have told the president to stay away.

FILE: Human Settlements Minister Lindiwe Sisulu. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

BOKSBURG – African National Congress NEC member Lindiwe Sisulu says the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) was wrong to impose President Jacob Zuma on workers at Monday's May Day rally.

She says if the workers didn't want Zuma at the event, the federation should have listened and told the president to stay away.

Sisulu was speaking on the sidelines of the military veterans’ dialogue at the Birchwood Hotel in Boksburg earlier on Wednesday.

The president was booed and heckled during Cosatu's May Day rally in Bloemfontein.

Sisulu says while workers were exercising their right when they booed the president, they should have expressed their unhappiness in a different way.

“Whatever it was, it wasn’t good; I think I would like to see an ANC that is able to express itself without taking away the dignity of anybody.”

She says because several unions affiliated to Cosatu had already objected to allowing the president to address the rally, the federation should have told Zuma that he was not wanted.

“There’s got to be some semblance of dignity around a head of state and I think if they really didn’t want him, they should have taken steps to make sure [he knows it], they should have gone to him directly and said ‘Mr President, please don’t come’.”

She says as an ANC leader, she wouldn't want the booing of a head of state to become the norm.

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

Meanwhile, Cosatu says it plans to convene a special central committee meeting soon to address the booing of the President Zuma.

The federation says the incident is regrettable and unacceptable, however, spokesman Sizwe Pamla says they understand the workers' anger.

“We have been engaging with the ANC on numerous occasions, trying to point out some of the issues that we feel are really frustrating workers.”

(Edited by Winnie Thelestane)