Saftu lauds mine workers for heckling Ramaphosa: ‘It was a justifiable act’

On Sunday, Ramaphosa was prevented from addressing the workers rally in Rustenburg and had to be quickly taken away by the police after intense booing from protesting Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine workers.

FILE: ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News.

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has lauded the heckling of African National Congress (ANC) president Cyril Ramaphosa on May Day, saying it was justified.

On Sunday, Ramaphosa was prevented from addressing the workers' rally in Rustenburg and had to be quickly taken away by the police after intense booing from protesting Sibanye-Stillwater gold mine workers.

The workers wanted him to address their issues first. They are demanding a R1,000 increase but the employer is only offering R850.

Saftu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said the ANC government had presided over high unemployment rate, mass retrenchments and the diminishing workers’ rights.

Vavi said it was against this backdrop that the treatment of Ramaphosa by disgruntled Sibanye employees was warranted.

“I think it was a justifiable act of anger; a statement that needed to be made against the leader of the government that is cutting expenditure on healthcare and education.”

At the same time, Vavi has called on the labour movement to put aside differences and unite so that events like May Day return to their former glory of celebrating workers.

He said it was an indictment on the labour movement as much it was that of the ANC government that only 23% of workers in South Africa belonged to trade unions.