President Jacob Zuma will no longer be welcomed to address trade union activities, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said on Tuesday.
“This shall be communicated to the ANC (African National Congress), including engaging on its implications for our alliance,” the trade federation said.
This is the first time since the end of apartheid in 1994 that the country’s president, who is also leader of the ANC, is banned from addressing activities organized by COSATU, an alliance partner with the ANC, the country’s governing party.
This decision falls in line with COSATU’s position that Zuma must step down, COSATU said in a statement after convening a Special Central Executive Committee meeting to, among others, finalize the preparations for the upcoming COSATU Central Committee that will be convened next week.
Both COSATU and the South African Communist Party (SACP), another alliance partner with the ANC, have called for Zuma to resign, citing his alleged involvement in a series of corruption scandals.
The three organizations have lately been experiencing ructions over Zuma’s continued leadership.
But COSATU said on Tuesday it remains very much committed to the alliance “but we want an alliance which is at the centre of driving the National Democratic Revolution (NDR) and that collectively develops policy in line with our vision in the Freedom Charter”.
“We will continue to fight to have an alliance, which is conscious that the primary task in this phase of our transition is to resolve the colonial and apartheid contradictions based on radical economic transformation.
“We also remain a reliable ally of the ANC. We want to see an ANC that will not only rediscover its mass character but that will use its organizational mass power to assert a people driven and a people centred development; instead of using it to fight internal factional battles to get people elected to positions of power,” COSATU said.
Organizational mass power should be seen as a strategic element to drive the NDR, not reduced into a tool to be used for patronage, the federation added.
Zuma and other ANC officials were booed at this year’s May Day rally in Bloemfontein, Free State Province. The rally was later cancelled.
There have been growing calls for Zuma to resign after he reshuffled the cabinet on March 31. This led to the downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to junk status by international rating agencies Standard & Poor’s and Fitch in April. Enditem