The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has banned President Jacob Zuma from addressing its central committee meetings and events, the labour federation announced on Tuesday.
Briefing the media in Johannesburg following a special meeting of its central executive committee, Cosatu’s general secretary Bheki Ntshalintshali said its decision to allow the president to speak at its main Workers’ Day Rally in Bloemfontein – where he was booed and heckled by workers – was inconsistent with its position for Zuma to step down.
In April, Cosatu called on Zuma to resign from office after his shambolic Cabinet reshuffle that saw Pravin Gordhan and his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas, removed from the finance ministry and the country downgraded to junk status by two international ratings agencies.
At the time, the trade union federation, which is in an alliance with the governing party and the SA Communist Party (SACP), said it did not believe Zuma was the right person to lead the alliance and the country in general. The SACP also called on Zuma to resign.
Cosatu has endorsed Deputy President Cyril 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.
The governing ANC on Tuesday said it “noted” Congress of SA Trade Unions’ (Cosatu) decision banning President Jacob Zuma from taking part in its future activities.
“The ANC has not received any formal communication in this regard, we therefore won’t make any comments until such time there is an engagement with Cosatu,” said ANC spokesman Zizi Kodwa.
– Additional reporting by African News Agency (ANA)