It could be a cold winter for President Jacob Zuma after his former ally, trade union federation Cosatu, yesterday banned him from addressing any of its meetings.
The move is a clear indication that the political space in which the under-fire leader can manoeuvre is growing smaller, according to political analyst Andre Duvenhage.
Cosatu said it would inform its alliance partner, the ANC, about the decision.
Speaking to The Citizen yesterday, Duvenhage said Zuma should start realising that it is the end of the road for him. The president had been under enormous pressure to resign from different sectors of society following his decision to fire former finance minister Pravin Gordhan and his deputy Mcebisi Jonas.
He said the move by Cosatu also showed Zuma was going to continue finding it difficult to address people anywhere in the country. “We saw what happened on May Day in the Free State, where the president was scheduled to speak and where Cosatu was forced to call off all the planned speeches.
The tide is turning against him.” Duvenhage said Zuma was also under pressure from citizens, some of whom have made it clear that they are not happy with the pace of service delivery. Community protests over lack of service delivery have gripped different parts of Gauteng in recent weeks.
“The environment is negative towards Zuma and we have seen how unhappy citizens have been with regards to service delivery issues,” Duvenhage said.
“The protesters have shown that they don’t see any future with the president at the helm … they see him more as a culprit, as opposed to a saviour.
“At the same time, the ANC itself is also continuing to fall apart.”
Despite the stance taken by Cosatu, Zuma would continue to fight back and would not consider calling it a day any time soon. Another political analyst, Ralph Mathekga, believed it was not the end of the road for Zuma, but stressed that the ANC must be worried about the Cosatu decision, saying the federation could also tell the ruling party that they are “on their own”, come 2019.
“I think the president will just ignore the latest move by Cosatu,” Mathekga said.
Meanwhile, Cosatu’s Bheki Ntshalintshali said allowing the president to speak during the federation’s events would be “inconsistent with our call for him to step down”.