‘Allowing Zuma to address May Day rally was inconsistent with our position’

The move to bar President Jacob Zuma from addressing Cosatu members comes after he was booed and heckled at the May Day rally.

FILE: Cosatu leadership gathered on stage in Bloemfontein. Picture: Kgothatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has admitted that allowing President Jacob Zuma to address its May Day rally was inconsistent with its position that it no longer trusts and supports the president's leadership.

The federation held a briefing on Tuesday, following its special central executive committee meeting, which decided to bar President Zuma from addressing its activities.

The move comes after Zuma was booed and heckled at the May Day rally in Bloemfontein on 1 May and was prevented from addressing workers.

Just a few days before Cosatu held its May Day rally, a few unions affiliated to the federation expressed their concern that allowing Zuma to address the event would be inconsistent with the Cosatu's position calling for him to step down.

But the federation seemed to ignore that.

Secretary General Bheki Ntshalintshali says the federation now agrees it shouldn't have allowed the president to speak in the first place.

“The CEC agrees with the position of the workers that the decision to allow President Zuma [to speak] was not consistent with our position, that we no longer trusted and supported his leadership and that he must step down.”

Ntshalintshali says the federation will communicate their decision to bar the president from its activities to the African National Congress and will also discuss the implications of this decision.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)