[UPDATE] Ramaphosa remembers lives lost during fight for workers’ rights

Tuesday marks 33 years since most South African workers declared 1 May as a public holiday and stayed away from work.

FILE: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa addressing thousands of people at Cosatu’s main Workers Day Rally in Port Elizabeth. Picture: @MYANC/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa has arrived in Port Elizabeth where he is expected to give the keynote address at the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)’s main Workers' Day event.

Hundreds of thousands of Cosatu members are gathered in Port Elizabeth on Tuesday afternoon.

Ramaphosa has used Tuesday’s May Day Rally to pay tribute to those who lost their lives fighting for workers’ rights.

Ramaphosa has been addressing thousands of people at Cosatu’s main Workers Day Rally in Port Elizabeth.

The president has described Tuesday’s event as successful.

In 2017, Cosatu’s rally in Bloemfontein had to be cancelled after former president Jacob Zuma was heckled by workers who refused to be addressed by him.

Ramaphosa has also applauded workers around the country for their continuous contribution in building South Africa.

“You who have made South Africa what it's today. As we walk around and see the progress that we’ve achieved through your labour, suffering and blood and sweat.”

At the same time, South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary-general Blade Nzimande has called on workers to stand up and defend the sovereignty of the country.

“As workers of this country you fought to liberate South Africa, you cannot allow it to be taken.”

Nzimande has used his address to Cosatu members to condemn state capture.

“There can be no victory for socialism if our state institutions are stolen.”

He also says with Ramaphosa at the helm of South Africa and the African National Congress there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“Ramaphosa has said there’s a new dawn… we agree with him as the SACP.”

Tuesday marks 33 years since most South African workers declared 1 May as a public holiday and stayed away from work.