While affiliates of trade union federation Cosatu are still divided on whether President Jacob Zuma should be allowed to attend the annual May Day rally in the Free State on Monday, the presidency confirmed that the president will attend.
“President Jacob Zuma will attend Cosatu’s Workers’ Day celebrations in Bloemfontein,” the ANC said on Friday.
Affiliates of trade union federation Cosatu are divided whether President Jacob Zuma should be allowed to attend the annual May Day rally in the Free State on Monday.
Attending the rally would be risky for Zuma, according to political analyst Ralph Mathekga.
The unions that have asked the Cosatu leadership why Zuma was invited to the rally in the first place include the Communications Workers Union (CWU) and the National Education, Health and Workers’ Union (Nehwau).
Reports on Friday also suggested that the SA Democratic Teachers Union (Sadtu) was against the idea of having Zuma attend the rally.
Speaking to Saturday Citizen on Friday, Mathekga said the divisions within Cosatu also showed how divisive Zuma’s presidency had been.
“It is sad that within the tripartite alliance, no one is quarantined to Zuma’s declining credibility,” he said.
“Zuma should have said from the start he was not available to attend the rally to avoid these divisions.”
Asked what was likely to happen if Zuma decided to honour Cosatu’s invitation, Mathekga said the president was likely to be booed.
Another analyst, Professor Andre Duvenhage, said although Zuma enjoyed a lot of support at the Freedom Day celebrations in KwaZulu-Natal, where he delivered the keynote address on Thursday, Monday would be a different ball game.
“Without a doubt it is going to be difficult for him to even address the workers there. But I also believe that in the event that happens, Cosatu’s S’dumo Dlamini will come to his defence and make him feel at home,” said Duvenhage.
“I also think that if [Zuma] decides to go, he will make sure that security is also tightened.”