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Nxesi plays down Zuma heckling at Cosatu rally

Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi said the issues surrounding President Jacob Zuma’s reception at Cosatu's May Day rally on Monday will be quickly resolved.

President Zuma seated alongside SACP, Sanco & Cosatu leaders at Cosatu's May Day rally in Bloemfontein on 1 May 2017. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Sports Minister Thulas Nxesi has downplayed the heckling of President Jacob Zuma at Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s main Workers’ Day rally in Bloemfontein, saying the matters will be dealt with swiftly.

Nxesi spoke to the media at the SA Rugby headquarters in Cape Town on Tuesday following his first meeting with sport’s bosses since his appointment to the position.

The minister said issues surrounding Zuma’s reception on Monday will be quickly resolved.

“No those are internal alliance issues, we’ll deal with them, nothing more.”

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

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

Political analyst Ralph Matekga said 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 said 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 said 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)