'ANC deployed Zuma to Cosatu May Day rally knowing he’d be booed'

Cosatu says it told the ANC that some unions didn't want President Jacob Zuma to address workers at May Day rally.

FILE: President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Cosatu says the African National Congress (ANC) deployed President Jacob Zuma to its May Day rally knowing very well that he would be booed, a claim the governing party has denied.

The federation held a briefing on Tuesday following its special central executive committee meeting, which resolved to bar the president from addressing any of its gatherings.

The decision comes after the president was booed and heckled at the May Day rally in Bloemfontein 1 May.

Cosatu says it told the ANC that some unions didn't want President Zuma to address workers on May Day, yet the ANC continued to deploy him, knowing very well there was a chance he could be booed.

Cosatu's second deputy president Zingiswa Losi says they didn't force the president on workers.

“There is a narrative that says we must take responsibility because we had planned it. There was no plan of a booing from Cosatu; then that raised a possibility of a warning which we were not aware of.”

But ANC spokesperson Zizi Kodwa says that's not true.

“We did not know. Both Cosatu and the ANC did not know that there would be booing of the president.”

Shortly after the president was booed, ANC deputy Secretary General Jessie Duarte was reported as saying that Secretary General Gwede Mantashe deployed the president to the event to embarrass him.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)