POLITICS

The Premier League Was Defeated -- Anti-Zuma Supporters

"The view of South Africans has been vindicated."

02/05/2017 11:46 SAST | Updated 02/05/2017 11:46 SAST
James Oatway / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma addresses crowds gathered to celebrate his 75th birthday in Kliptown, Johannesburg, South Africa, April 12, 2017.

The heckling and booing of President Jacob Zuma which led to the cancellation of labour federation Cosatu's Worker's Day rally has been hailed as a turning point in the battle against Zuma and his allies by some in both the Free State and the country.

The president of country and the African National Congress was received by anti-Zuma songs and chants for him to fall at the event where he was meant to be delivering a message of support on behalf of his political party but all speeches were cancelled as crowds refused to participate in the programme or even hear from certain leaders.

Cosatu's own president, who has been lambasted over his continued show of loyalty toward Zuma even after the federation had resolved that he needed to step down as South Africa's number one citizen, had been booed and shown the "change or substitute" sign often used in football when he greeted workers earlier.

"The view of South Africans has been vindicated," said Shima Mohohlo.

The former ANC branch leader had joined the crowds in order to support the annual event. He added that Zuma had been fobbing off demonstrations pretending it was just the white minority but that workers demonstrating against the president proved otherwise.

Conflict of views

The workers' actions and his views are in complete conflict with ANC Youth League chairperson of the province Makalo Mohale who had believed that workers would welcome Zuma and prove that they don't agree with calls made by leaders in both Cosatu and another affiliate the SACP that Zuma should resign as the country's president.

"It was highly encouraging and refreshing to witness what the workers did to this monster, which was created by both the SACP and Cosatu before 2007," said Mahhlo.

The Cosatu Worker's Day rally is yet another platform being used by members of the alliance to sling mud at one another, this time with Zuma in the firing line.

In April, SACP's deputy general Secretary Solly Mapaila was booed at the commemoration of the 24th anniversary of Chris Hani's murder and former finance minister Pravin Gordhan was booed by the ANC Youth League in KwaZulu-Natal during a memorial service in honour of former struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada.

Another elated provincial leader in the Free State, who refused to be named, said he imagined Ace Magashule the chairperson of the province was frustrated and embarrassed by the turn of events.

Mahohlo also believes a leader like Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa should step in and rectify some of the errors made by Zuma.

"We defeated the premier league," he said laughing. It was obvious the workers had refused to take instruction from Magashule, he added.

The provincial leader accused Magashule of attempting to "buy" support for Zuma. He also said the chair who doubles as premier in the province had filled Loch Logan Park, where the event took place with ANCYL and ANC Women's League members and bought t-shirts which said "100 percent Zuma".

Embarrassment

Magashule, however, denied such claims, telling members of the media that he did not lobby for the event because it did not belong to the ANC.

"I don't know anything... If I was involved the whole of the Free State would be here," he said.

"I am not surprised by this; it was actually staged to embarrass the whole leadership. There are people who planned it," Magashule added.

The ANC Free State chair said he was told those who had been vocal and disruptive at the May Day gathering were not from his province.

"All leaders must be embarrassed," said Magashule when asked how leaders in the tripartite alliance should react to the president of the liberation movement being booed.

In giving insights on what was playing through Zuma's mind while he was being heckled, Magashule said it was the nature of politics.

"This is the nature of the struggle unfolding. This is what makes us stronger and resolute to work harder on the ground," he said.

News24