The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has reportedly barred President Jacob Zuma from addressing its central committee meetings and all other federation events, Business Day reported on Tuesday.
The decision was made by the labour federation’s central executive committee at its special sitting on Monday, which elected to rather have Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa speak at its events. According to the report, the meeting resolved to write to the ANC to inform the governing party in writing of its decision.
This followed Zuma’s embarrassment at Cosatu’s Workers’ Day Rally in Bloemfontein earlier this month when he was booed and heckled by workers at the event after his controversial and much-criticised Cabinet reshuffle on March 30.
In April, Cosatu – the ANC’s biggest alliance partner – called for Zuma to step down as president, saying it did not believe he was the right person to lead the alliance between the ANC, Cosatu, the SA Communist Party, and, in general, the country.
The trade union federation has endorsed Ramaphosa as Zuma’s successor when his term ends as ANC leader later this year in December, but the ANC has criticised it for making pronouncements on its leadership race before the party opens its succession debate, which is likely to happen after its policy conference next month.
A source speaking to Business Day told the paper the decision to ban Zuma was a matter of principle, saying though Cosatu could not tell the ANC who to deploy to its central executive meeting, it was a given that the deputy president would fill Zuma’s shoes in his absence.
Cosatu will hold its central committee meeting next week from Monday to Thursday, June 1.